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Study Tours Leaders

Meet our Study Tours leaders

Bonita Billman

Bonita Billman was an instructor in art history at Georgetown's School of summer and continuing studies. She received her B.A. in art history and history from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned an M.A. in art history from The George Washington University. Previously she taught art history at Goucher College and has contributed articles to several publications.

Melanie Choukas-Bradley

Melanie Choukas-Bradley is an award-winning author of seven nature books, and an award-winning educator and naturalist. More than forty years ago she moved to Washington, DC from northern New England, bringing with her a love of nature fostered during a Vermont childhood.

Matt Felperin

Matt Felperin is a DC area native raised in Takoma Park, MD. He is the Roving Naturalist with NOVA Parks, the regional park system of Northern Virginia. Matt has always been drawn to nature and has been sharing his findings with anyone within earshot since his days as a small child looking for salamanders and crayfish in nearby Sligo Creek.

Paul Glenshaw

Paul Glenshaw's career covers several disciplines, all fueling the same goal: storytelling. He is currently developing his popular online Art+History presentations for public television and is in production on three documentaries on French-American history. His film The Lafayette Escadrille has been broadcast nationwide since 2021 on public television.

Scott Hercik

Scott Hercik brings to the Smithsonian Associates a life-long fascination of railways, aviation, and maritime, coupled with a professional career steeped in both multimodal transport development and international trade and travel.

Bill Keene

Bill Keene has for many years lectured in architecture and urban studies specializing in the history of architecture in the United States with a special interest in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Elizabeth Lay

Elizabeth Lay is a Design Historian and the newly retired Curator at Montgomery History. She holds a master’s degree in the History of Decorative Arts from the Smithsonian-GMU program in Design History, specializing in 20th century textiles, fashion, and design.

Chelsea Mahaffey

Chelsea Mahaffey is on a mission to visit every public garden in North America. Ever since her first job as a gardener at a zoo, Chelsea has obsessed over plants and their role in the community. As a plant enthusiast and garden advocate, she delivers keen horticulture insights during her Smithsonian tours.

Hayden Matthews

Hayden Matthews has over 20 years of experience leading interpretive tours of the Washington DC area, and as a Study Leader for Smithsonian Associates for the last eight years. He has spent 50 years exploring the Mid-Atlantic states and is a biologist by degree, a storyteller at heart, and a lover of all things historical.

Carolyn Muraskin

Carolyn Muraskin is the founder of tour agency DC Design Tours, offering historical tours of Washington DC, focused on architecture, urban planning, and design. Carolyn and her team conduct tours across the city, including the National Mall, Embassy Row, Capitol Hill, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, Historic Anacostia, and more.

Lynn O'Connell

Lynn O'Connell has been leading tours in the DC area for several decades focusing on history, food, ghosts, sex & scandals, and presidential wives. She is also a licensed New York City guide and serves as Tour Director for several companies taking travelers to far-flung places around the world - and has a special passion for sub-Saharan Africa.

Chuck Raasch

Chuck Raasch is an author and journalist, with bylines from 49 states and five continents. He was a columnist and national correspondent with Gannett and USA Today, a Knight Fellow at Stanford University, and is the author of two books: Imperfect Union : One Father's Search for His Son in the Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg (2016) and Life Painted Red: The True Story of Corabelle Fellows and How Her Life on the Dakota Frontier Became a National Scandal (2023).

Ken Rasmussen

Ken Rasmussen joined the Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale faculty in 1992 while also a Researcher in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

Richard Selden

Richard Selden covers the arts for The Georgetowner and has written freelance arts and travel features for the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and other publications. Earlier, he was marketing director of the Peabody Institute, the music school of Johns Hopkins University, and, before that, ran continuing education at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

Dakota Springston

A 13th generation Virginian, Dakota Springston has what you could call an obsession with the past. Drawing his love of history from his parents, his ancestors and from the 1890s historic house he grew up in, Dakota has been “doing history” since he could walk.

Marcum Thompson

Colonel Marcum L. Thompson, USAF Retired, served 28 years in the United States Air Force as an Air Intelligence Officer with assignments to the Joint Staff, United States European Command and United States Strategic Command. He commanded the 692nd Information Operations Group at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii and served as Director of Intelligence for Combined Joint Task Force OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

Keith Tomlinson

Recently retired, Keith Tomlinson managed Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia for 23 years. Previously, he worked as the Natural History Education Specialist at Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Working as an interpretive naturalist over the past forty years, Keith has studied wilderness areas and botanical gardens in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, the Americas, Australia and Europe.

Noah Andre Trudeau

A history graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, Noah Andre (Andy) Trudeau has a continuing interest in American cultural history. Formerly an executive producer in National Public Radio's Cultural Programming Department, Trudeau is the recipient of a major national program award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for a four-part audio biography of Charles Ives (whose father was a celebrated Civil War band leader). He's the proud son of two WWII veterans.

Liana Vitali

Liana Vitali believes wholeheartedly in the power of nature to foster profound experiences in each of us that can serve to unlock our potential and authentic selves. She feels that immersive, place-based experiences expand our lives and values through both opening our minds and hearts to new ideas, concepts, and lifestyles.

Ursula Rehn Wolfman

Professor Ursula Rehn Wolfman was born in Steinfeld, Austria and educated in Germany, England, France and the United States. She received the Diplôme Supérieur from the Université de Paris (Sorbonne) in Paris in literature and philosophy and completed her graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a doctorate in French literature and art history.