Published in The Day

Thames River Heritage Park is now accepting applications for its 2023 Docent Academy class. In its second year, the Thames River Heritage Park Docent Academy – a 10-week training program for current and prospective volunteer guides – will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and continues meeting every Wednesday morning from 9 a.m. to noon through early April.

A collaborative effort by Thames River Heritage Park Foundation and the heritage sites that comprise the Park – Avery-Copp House Museum, Bill Memorial Library, Ebenezer Avery House, Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, Fort Trumbull State Park, Garde Arts Center, Hempsted Houses, Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Monte Cristo Cottage, Nathan Hale School House, New London Maritime Society/Custom House Maritime Museum, Old Town Mill, NL Black Heritage Trail, Shaw Mansion/NL County Historical Society, Submarine Force Library and Museum / USS Nautilus – the Thames River Heritage Park Docent Academy features informative talks and presentations, combined with site visits. Sessions include presentations on the history of the southern end Thames River estuary, visitor experience, Gilded Age, whaling industry, colonial life, the battle of Fort Griswold, the burning of New London and more.

“It will give participants a taste of the rich heritage of New London and Groton and familiarize both present and new volunteers with sites and programs to be discovered and explored on the Thames,” Catherine Foley, heritage park executive director, said in a release.

Upon graduation, Docent Academy participants become eligible to volunteer at the site of their choice. Graduates are asked to commit to a year of volunteer time at one of the heritage sites or institutional partner agencies.

Registration for the program is $150 ($15 per session) and includes private tours of heritage sites, stimulating presentations, Interpreter’s Guide to the Thames River Heritage Park, and the opportunity to make friends. New London and Groton residents are encouraged to call the office at 860-443-3352 to inquire about potential scholarship funding.

This program is made possible thanks to grants from Connecticut Humanities, Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut and members and donors who support Thames River Heritage Park Foundation.

For more information go to https://www.thamesriverheritag... or contact Catherine Foley at