Job Description

Shoreline Sightseeing architecture docents are elite tour guides with an extensive knowledge of Chicago architecture and history. Not only are Shoreline tours intellectual, they are accessible, engaging, and fun. What sets Shoreline docents apart from their competitors is the creative freedom to compose their own tours. Under the guidance of docent leadership and coaches, these tours are honed and perfected to meet specific constraints and guidelines. The most important aspects of a Shoreline Architecture River Cruise are below. Docents are expected to keep these guidelines in mind as they craft and rewrite their tours throughout their tenure at Shoreline

  • Must engage, impress, and move passengers to foster a memorable experience of Chicago
  • Must be equal parts intellectual and entertaining
  • Must focus primarily on Chicago architecture
    • While history and culture are components of a great tour, the main focus of the tour must be the architecture 
  • Must not engage in divisive political or social discourse

About us

Docents work at both Shoreline Architecture River Cruise locations, at 401 N. Michigan Avenue (Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive) and at the Ogden Slip (located at Illinois and Streeter, just west of the entrance to Navy Pier).

Docents are expected to provide a mix of morning and evening availability (at least 3-5 evenings per month), and a mix of weekdays and weekends to help create a balanced schedule. 

In addition to giving tours, docents are expected to participate in regular workshops, coaching, and development to ensure the continued quality of their tours and engage with fellow docents to discuss common topics that arise on the job.

Expectations and Mindset

  • Unreasonable Hospitality. At Shoreline, we believe that treating others better than they expect  has the power to make the world a better place. By providing an unforgettable experience of welcome, passengers will remember Chicago as a compassionate place, and find empathy for the people that live here.
  • Generous Authority. As a docent, you are a de-facto leader, even though the captain is in charge. You have everyone’s attention. You are expected to practice generous authority to enhance and protect the experience of every guest. What does this mean?
    • Create a communal experience.
    • Treat every passenger and coworker with compassion.
    • Maintain order and manage expectations
    • Don’t let a few ruin it for the many.
    • Treat even the most disruptive passengers with dignity and respect.
  • Humility and Authenticity. These are the fundamental characteristics of a great tour guide. This tour is about Chicago, not about you, though you can and should still bring your full self to the narrative in a way that supports the story of our city’s architecture.
  • Curiosity. The most captivating tour is led by inquisition! Why are we here? What does it all mean? Docents are expected to stay curious and let their tour reflect lifelong learning.
  • Growth Mindset. Docents seek continuous improvement. They are confident in giving and receiving constructive feedback, always in pursuit of the most satisfying tour experience.

Playfulness and Fun. Tours are a form of creative entertainment for the enjoyment of people at leisure. Passengers are delighted when you are delighted. Have fun!