What Does a Docent Do?

Docents are highly trained volunteers who interpret the cultural and natural resources of the Sonoma State Historic Park and the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park.

As docents, we receive training in local history by State Parks, and give free tours to visitors in the Parks. Docents get a chance to talk to people who are visiting Sonoma from all over the world, as well as California schoolchildren, tourists from other parts of the state, California Mission and history aficionados, and special tour groups. We learn different perspectives on history from visitors, and share with them stories about how California came to be. We serve as ambassadors for the State Historic Parks, reaching more visitors than Parks staff members possibly could on their own.

Docents work year round in our Parks in a variety of capacities. Most of us sign up to lead about 4 hours of tours per month, selecting from these venues and hours:

  • Sonoma Mission: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00AM to 3:00PM
  • Sonoma Barracks: Saturday and Sunday from 11:00AM to 3:00PM.
  • Vallejo’s Home: Saturday and Sunday from 1:00PM to 4:00PM.
  • Toscano Hotel and Kitchen: Saturday and Sunday from 1:00PM to 4:00PM.
  • Petaluma Adobe: Saturday and Sunday from 1:00PM to 3:00PM.

Whether leading tours, demonstrating arts and crafts techniques, or helping with special events, the docents provide invaluable assistance. Opportunities for docents to increase their knowledge abound throughout the year. We organize enrichment field trips and lectures, and are actively involved in studying history. Docent meetings and volunteer appreciation events give us time to catch up with each other when we’re “off-duty”.

Want to be a Docent?

If you think you have the time and the interest, please read the Docent Duty Statement. To find out when the next Docent Training Orientation will take place, or for answers to other questions regarding our docent program, send an email to either of the contacts below.  You can download a docent volunteer application and deliver the completed application to either of the Volunteer Leads listed below.

For Sonoma inquiries:  tyler.markley@parks.ca.gov

For Petaluma inquiries: jennifer.hanson@parks.ca.gov

Active Docents

Your Impact starts on MY IMPACT

  • Select your tour assignments: venue, date and time
  • Record your completed tour hours and visitors served

Sign up for tours and make Your Impact on our State Historic Parks.


Sonoma State Historic Park Notes is a wide-ranging collection of notes on the history, personalities, politics surrounding the Mission San Francisco Solano, our other parks venues and the early years of the state of California. It is full of anecdotes and details that would be of interest to visitors as well as a useful chronology covering several hundred years. References are included at the end.