From our friends at the Center for the Future of Museums:
I’m having a great time following the many and various discussions on Museum Junction—the Alliance’s conversation forum for members and non-members alike. One recent thread explored service dogs in museums—their role, the regulations that make accommodating these canines an important part of accessibility, the tricky issue of distinguishing service dogs from companion animals in a legal and appropriate manner. In the course of this back and forth, Cathy Callaway, museum educator at the Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri, let drop that her museum has its own canine assistant—Emma the Docent Dog. I had never heard of a docent dog. (The closest I could think of is the Philbrook Museum of Art’s resident cats—which, other than occasional video blogging, have no official duties that I know of.) Cathy was kind enough to recruit Kathie Lucas, the Emma’s human counterpart, to explain this unusual arrangement.
Emma, the Docent Dog is a unique addition to Columbia’s art world. As the official canine tour guide and ambassador for the University of Missouri's Museum of Art and Archaeology, Emma is a welcome sight to staff and visitors alike. After all, who can resist the warm greeting of a smiling, silvery-black standard poodle?