Hartman Rock Garden Docent Training

The Hartman Rock Garden is offering a professionally-designed program to train people like you to give tours of this landmark art environment. We hope that you will join our volunteer team! Over three Saturday mornings sessions in April, you will learn the incredible story of Ben Hartman’s Historical Rock Garden and how it fits into the larger Visionary Art Environment world. We will explore the inspirations that motivated Ben to build the garden, the materials and techniques that he used, and the process that it took to restore the garden to its 1930s appearance. We will also go behind the scenes at the site to examine the molds and parts that Ben used to make his artistic creations and visit the nearby stream where he gathered much of his rock and stone. Upon completion of the program, you will have the opportunity to share your knowledge with visitors from around the globe. No prior experience needed. The time commitment is flexible and will vary month to month, likely ranging from one to six hours per month, so even people with busy schedules can find a way to contribute their talents!


Hartman Rock Garden (Photo by Rod Hatfield)


This docent training is part of a larger plan to begin offering regular guided tours at the site this summer. Tours will be offered at least once per week in warm weather months. As our volunteer base grows, we plan to increase the number of tours offered and also begin offering some special thematic and behind-the-scenes tours. In addition to our regularly scheduled tours, the garden receives numerous requests for tours by appointment from coach tour groups and regional clubs.


Training Cost: $25, which covers training materials, docent manuals, and refreshments. In order to successfully complete the training, please plan to attend all three sessions:

First Session: Saturday, April 14th from 9:00am to Noon

Second Session: Saturday, April 21st from 9:00am to Noon

Third Session: Saturday, April 28th from 9:00am to 12:30pm


About the Hartman Rock Garden: The Hartman Rock Garden, located at 1905 Russell Avenue in Springfield, Ohio, is one of the nation’s revered visionary art environments, an outsider art phenomenon where self-taught artists construct fascinating worlds out of concrete, metal, stone, and whatever else they can find. Constructed between 1932 and 1944, it was the vision of local foundry worker Ben Hartman and his wife Mary. After years of neglect, the Wisconsin-based Kohler Foundation saved the garden in 2008. Working with the local community, folk art conservators began the process of restoring the garden to its original condition. In 2010, local citizens worked with the Kohler Foundation to form the Friends of the Hartman Rock Garden, a not-for-profit organization, which oversees the maintenance, preservation, and interpretation of this landmark art environment.


How to Enroll:

To enroll in this program, please contact:

Kevin Rose at krose @ hmturnerfoundation.org


Space is limited to 25 participants for this program. Registration will close on Friday, April 6.


Download a PDF of the Hartman Rock Garden's Call for Volunteers