Who We Are: Meet the Management Team
Inge Laino, Director
After serving in the United States Peace Corps in West Africa and teaching high school French in Brooklyn, Inge purchased a ticket to the City of Light to make a life-long dream come true.
“I came to Paris thinking I would stay a year or two before heading back home to New York to earn a graduate degree in French literature” she says. “But I succumbed to the irresistible pull this city has on so many people. It was the museums and exhibitions that did it for me - they are treasure troves teeming with goodies and there’s nothing I love more than helping others discover them!”
With an initial degree in Classics and Art History, Inge went on to pursue a Masters in Linguistics and Translation at the Sorbonne’s l'Ecole Supérieure d'Interprètes et de Traducteurs. When she is not exploring the works of art in Paris’ world-class galleries, she occasionally delves into the art of words.
Inge joined Paris Muse in 2007 leading tours at Notre Dame and the Louvre. She became Director in July 2011. When she is not sharing her passion for Paris and art with clients, she can often be found nurturing her window garden or improving her Italian at the opera.
Jason Vrooman, Associate Director
Raised in New York State’s beautiful Thousand Islands region, Jason knew from a young age that he wanted to visit France. One trip led to several, including an undergraduate semester in Paris. It was during that time, on weekly visits to the city’s museums, that he discovered his passion for art. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in art history at New York University, from where his dissertation research led him back to Paris yet again in 2010.
As Associate Director, Jason builds on his experience in both the museum and academic worlds. He has worked in the curatorial and education departments of the National Gallery of Art (Washington), the New-York Historical Society, and the Clark Art Institute. He has taught at New York University, Smith College, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Jason began leading programs for Paris Muse at the Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, and Centre Pompidou in December of 2010, and became Associate Director in 2012. Among his many management responsibilities, Jason enjoys researching and developing new programs and overseeing the training and continuing education of the Muse team.
When not researching his dissertation or encouraging Paris Muse clients to talk about “what’s going on in this picture,” Jason enjoys scouring Paris for the best pastries and chocolat chaud, and plotting similar “research trips” to other European cities.
Laura Osorio, Program and Family Guide Coordinator / Content Researcher
Laura holds a BA in Archaeology, Classics and Classical Art from University College London and an MA in Mesoamerican Art and Archaeology from Universiteit Leiden in Holland. She is currently completing her doctoral research at Leiden, which examines Classic Mayan art ideas about being and the material environment. This project has given her the opportunity to conduct research in the Maya communities of Yucatan, Mexico, and teach archaeology and art at Leiden University.
Her interest in indigenous issues led her to UNESCO in Paris, where she worked in the Indigenous Fellowship Program, expanding the knowledge of UNESCO staff on the issues of indigenous and minority communities, while providing those communities with a broader understanding of UN cultural and human rights policy.
As Program Coordinator and Researcher for Paris Muse, Laura bridges the theoretical aspects of her research on intercultural understanding with the practical: facilitating the understanding of museum collections. In this way, she hopes to develop the role of public art and archaeology in broadening cultural perspectives.
A Londoner with Mexican and English parents, Laura was fascinated by history and art as a child. Because of this, one of her greatest satisfactions is to share her enthusiasm with younger generations of museum-goers. When not giving tours, Laura goes to the cinema as often as she can and throws inappropriately large dinner parties, considering the size of her attic studio.
Laakso, Director of Continuing Education
After stints in Los Angeles, the South Pacific, Cambridge, England -- and a brief foray into North Dakota -- Kristen landed in Paris in 1997, armed with undergraduate and graduate degrees in French literature from the University of Southern California. At USC, she focused on 16th-century memoir writing for her graduate work, while teaching French to undergrads for five years.
In Paris, Kristen leapt immediately into the city's cultural life. As an editor at Where magazine, Kristen helped English-speaking visitors discover the hidden treasures of Paris. But it was a year of intensive art-historical study at Christie's that pulled her irresistibly into the world of art.
"As much as I love the richness of the French language, I discovered that history came alive for me more vividly in the galleries of French museums than in the pages of French books," she says.
Kristen joined Paris Muse in 2003 leading the tours of Notre Dame and Musée de Cluny, the national museum of medieval art. In 2005, she became managing director of Paris Muse, before becoming director in July 2009. She is now Director of Continuing Education, focusing on expanding the educational reach of Paris Muse.
When she's not taking families on scavenger hunts in the Louvre or deciphering the facade of Notre Dame for clients, she loves taking her two daughters to play in the gardens of the Palais Royal.
Ellen McBreen, Founder
Ellen started Paris Muse in 2002, soon after moving to Paris for graduate school. While working on her dissertation, she was teaching art history part-time for the American University of Paris: “I began to notice that my classes in the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay generated a wake of curious museum-goers who were tagging along. I never had any plans to make a business of it, but people really seemed to be looking for a meaningful alternative to being herded around in big, impersonal tour groups.”
“Since then, we’ve grown, but we’ve also kept to our roots as a small company catering to the education of individuals in an age of packaged and over-processed travel.”
Ellen has a BA from Harvard University and a PhD in art history from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. She is currently completing a book for Yale University Press about Henri Matisse's sculpture and researching for a future museum exhibition about Matisse's personal collection.