NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—Newport Harbor Art Museum seeks volunteer docents to lead tours in anticipation of the opening of its American folk art collection, said volunteer liaison, Hillary Wolf.

Volunteers must be 18 and older and commit at least 20 hours each month for one year. They must also attend training sessions on May 6 and 7, said Wolf.

“We’re looking for individuals who love art and love people. It’s an excellent opportunity for the public to learn more about art and educate the community,” said Wolf.

She said, “The generosity of our donors has made these opportunities possible, and our museum and community will improve because of it.”

A gift from Newport native Elizabeth Harrison, the 1,000-piece, $345 million folk art collection will generate more visitors and increase the museum’s prestige. One of its oldest pieces, a hand-carved rocking horse from 1774, is valued at over $1 million, said curator Joao Mejia.

The gallery opens to invited guests on Saturday, May 14, and to the public May 15, said the president of the museum’s board of directors, Michele Doernte.

“Docents are the lifeblood of this institution. Without them, the transition of emphasis from maritime art to American folk would be impossible,” said Doernte.

Prospective volunteers must attend a coffee reception on April 30 at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the museum. They can email Hilary Wolf at or call 714-759-5623 for more information.