Who We Are: Meet Our Team of Docents
Paris is a far cry from a horse farm in Prince Edward County, Canada where Philip grew up. After spending four years exploring Europe from his base in London, he was not quite ready to settle back in Canada just yet.
With a BA and MA in history from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, Philip hopped the pond to complete his Ph.D. in medieval history at the University of London, under the supervision of a renowned Crusades historian.
“When you spend so much time in books, studying people and events from the distant past, there is nothing quite so magical as getting out, walking in their footsteps, and seeing some of the places and objects that they themselves saw,” he says. “This is the magic of the museums and galleries of Paris, and of the city itself, and I love showing it to others.”
When Philip is not sharing his passion for history and art with Paris Muse clients in the galleries of the Louvre, you may spot him practicing the very French art of the flaneur, wandering about city at a leisurely pace and marvelling at its many wonders.
Originally from Moscow, Maria spent most of her childhood in sub-Saharan Africa before moving to the US to attend college in 2002. After earning her BA from Yale University in 2006, Maria stayed on for graduate studies in the PhD program in Art History. While at Yale, she worked as a docent and curatorial assistant at the University Art Gallery where she led various masterpiece and family tours. She is especially excited to continue meaningful museum teaching with Paris Muse visitors, using some of the city’s most celebrated collections. Maria now lives permanently in Paris with her French husband. When not conducting programs for Paris Muse, Maria is busy finishing her dissertation on the rise of Russian Modernism in the visual arts at the end of the 19th century. An enthusiastic foodie, she loves to indulge in the wonderful gastronomic adventures that Paris has to offer and is always ready to share some tips on where to get the best bites.
Stephanie developed her love of travel and exploration early, during a childhood spent moving between San Francisco, Washington DC, and London. While studying literature and art history as an undergraduate at Harvard, she took every opportunity to continue traveling, and even participated in an archaeological dig in Bulgaria. Research trips to Europe inspired her to use her love of art as a way to explore different cultures.
Stephanie is currently pursuing a PhD in 19th-century European art at Columbia University. While in Paris, she is completing research for her doctoral dissertation, which explores the paintings of Anne-Louis Girodet and Henry Fuseli from 1780 to 1810. Stephanie loves living in Paris, where art can be found on practically every corner. When not researching or leading tours for Paris Muse, she enjoys wandering through the many different neighborhoods of Paris. She is also undertaking a thorough and rigorous study of the pain aux raisins in the city’s bakeries.
Isabelle grew up in San Francisco where she attended a French school before leaving the Bay Area to explore the East Coast. She first caught the art bug at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she earned her B.A. in Art History and English and American Literature. It was during her time at Brandeis that she fell hopelessly in love with French Symbolist art, literature, and poetry. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware studying the history of photography and French modernism. In Paris, she is busy researching her dissertation, about the cultural impact of depictions of subterranean space in 19th century art, literature, and science. When not dreaming of adventures deep in the sewers, catacombs, caves, and oceans, she is happily exploring the (equally fascinating) city aboveground! One of her favorite pastimes is reading 19th century romantic portrayals of the city, and then visiting the actual locations to see how they compare today. When her nose isn't buried in a book, Isabelle can be found meeting friends over coffee or kir to talk about art, books, and movies.
A family trip to Paris for her 16th birthday left a lasting impression on Stephanie, whose passion for art, history, and travel has led to a series of European adventures. At Sarah Lawrence College, she studied Art History and spent the 2001-2 academic year in the cradle of the Italian Renaissance: Florence, Italy. After graduating in 2003, she went on to Northwestern University, where she earned an M.A. in Art History in 2005 and an M.A. in History in 2008. Stephanie will complete her Ph.D. in History in 2013.
Stephanie’s dissertation research took her into the archives and libraries of Florence, Rome, and Pisa from 2008-11. Through the generous support of research grants including the Fulbright Fellowship and the American Academy in Rome Prize, her work on the history of religious minorities in 17th century Italy has been featured in international conferences and published in the academic journal Mediaevalia (2011).
Stephanie has taught at Northwestern University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After several years of commuting between Chicago, Italy, and France, she is thrilled to settle in Paris with her French husband. When she is not musing over the masterpieces of the Louvre or putting the finishing touches on her dissertation, Stephanie enjoys taking long bike rides through the historic center of Paris.
Erin grew up in Arizona where her early appreciation for art was fostered by southwestern murals, artist colonies, and museum air conditioning! She discovered her vocation as an art historian in Paris during a visit to the Louvre. After earning an Art History degree from the University of California, Berkeley, Erin taught elementary school with Teach For America and then earned a Masters in Education. She now combines her love of teaching and learning in the PhD program at Princeton University, where she is researching political caricature and painting in 19th century France. Happily, her dissertation has led her back to Paris and its world-class museums. When Erin is not digging through the archives in the national library, she is busy finding the flakiest croissants and the best green spaces in which to eat them.
Inge is a Belgian-American historian and translator who has lived in Paris for the past eleven years. After her degree in classics and art history, she served in the US Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa. Since moving to France, Inge has worked both as an instructor at the American University of Paris and guide at the Madeleine basilica in Vézelay, Burgundy, where she was also a resident translator for historical texts on monasticism in medieval Europe. Inge holds a masters degree in linguistics and translation at the Sorbonne’s l'Ecole Supérieure d'Interprètes et de Traducteurs. In addition to her role as Director of Paris Muse, she leads tours at Notre Dame, Cluny, the Louvre, and the Orangerie.
Pamela divides her time between Paris and Providence, RI, where she is professor of modern art history at the University of Rhode Island: “It's always a pleasure to come back to Paris and start giving tours again. I wish all my students were as enthusiastic as my Paris Musers!"
Pamela completed her PhD at the University of Delaware in 2005. She wrote her dissertation on two 19th-century French art critics and Paris-o-philes, the Goncourt brothers: “I love telling stories: stories in the art, and stories about the art. That’s probably why I chose to focus my academic research on art critics--the people who told the stories about art in the past.”
Pamela’s husband is a Swiss-French artist who has helped open her eyes to the ways artists work: “I hope to let some of this passion shine through in my teaching and guiding.”
Born in Italy as daughter to two French teachers, Barbara was introduced to French culture at an early age. She visited Paris for the first time when she was eleven and dreamt about living in the city one day. After an BA in foreign literatures and art in Italy and an M.A. and PhD at the University of Lyon (France) where she wrote a thesis on American poetry and art, Barbara was finally able to move to her beloved city. She is interested in both art and literature and specializes in the connections between the two, through the tradition of artists’ books.
When she is not working as a Paris Muse docent, Barbara teaches American literature at a French university and art history at the Paris College of Art. She also works as an independent author for magazines and exhibition catalogues in both France and Italy. Barbara is the author of two books of short stories in Italian. She loves sharing her passion for art and having long walks in the Louvre, particularly through the Italian Renaissance galleries where she feels especially at home.
Born and raised in Africa, Mary has traveled extensively throughout the world. Her research on the Maison de Verre, a modern architectural icon in the 7th arrondissement, brought her back to Paris, where she had once studied as an exchange student from Georgia Tech.
As she continues work on her dissertation, Mary also serves as docent for the Maison de Verre, and Program Director for the School of Architecture and Planning at The Catholic University of America. She is pursuing her PhD in Architectural Representation and Education at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Consortium of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. When not teaching and leading tours for Paris Muse, Mary enjoys hanging out with her two teenage daughters.
Originally from London, Miranda has been living in Paris on and off for the past 10 years. She has a BA Honours in Fine Art and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. A stint running the lectures programme at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London was followed by a permanent move to Paris in 2005.
Previously a guide at the architecture galleries of the V&A, London, and the Fondation Cartier in Paris, Miranda’s interests are diverse and include 19th and 20th century art and contemporary architecture. When not leading tours for Paris Muse, Miranda can be found either researching articles for the UK architectural press or building sandcastles with her two young sons, in some of Paris’s many wonderful parks and gardens.
Patrick divides his time between Paris and New York, academia and professional practice as an architect. He received his Masters degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. When in New York, Patrick combines his work for an award-winning architectural practice, with teaching at Columbia University’s GSAPP teaching architectural design studio.
While in Paris, Patrick thoroughly enjoys the lifestyle, and particularly the city’s food, wine, and chocolate! When not guiding architectural history walks for Paris Muse he spends his time as Director of the Columbia University Architecture Program in Paris.
Elisa began her graduate studies focusing on Spain but found herself on a reverse pilgrimage from Santiago de Compostela, wandering over the Pyrenees, where she became enamored with the cathedrals of France.
Raised in Texas, she moved to Paris for dissertation research. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at Brown University where she focuses on late medieval and early renaissance French art and architecture. Elisa credits her love of art history to her many childhood visits to Europe, and especially to Paris.
Elisa is passionate about teaching. She holds a Master’s in Teaching from Simmons College and has taught art history at Southern Methodist University and The University of Texas at Arlington. She loves teaching in museums, and has worked as a graduate intern at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is thrilled to share her interest and enthusiasm for the visual arts in the great museums of Paris, where she gives tours at the Musée Cluny, Notre-Dame, and the Louvre.
In addition to giving tours for Paris Muse, Elisa enjoys exploring the cafés of Paris, which she balances out with her love for Bikram yoga.
Raised in New York State’s beautiful Thousand Islands region—famous for its salad dressing and sunsets!—Jason knew from a young age that he wanted to visit France. One trip led to several, including an undergraduate semester spent living in Paris. On weekly visits to the city’s museums, Jason discovered his passion for art. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in art history at New York University, where he studies representations of men in late nineteenth-century French art. His research for the project has led him once more to the City of Light.
Jason has worked in the curatorial and education departments of numerous museums, including the New-York Historical Society and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. He has previously taught at NYU and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and is happy to be spending so much time in Paris’s museums yet again, sharing their treasures with Paris Muse clients.
When not researching his dissertation or encouraging others 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.
For Amanda, Paris seems the perfect place to put the finishing touches on her doctoral dissertation, which involves Cezanne, as well as the minimalist, ghostly images of Samuel Beckett’s experimental plays for television. Since she’s fascinated by the kinships between word and image, avant-garde experimentation and tried-and-true tradition, she’s especially pleased to be giving tours in the city’s visually stunning, image-rich museums. (She heartily recommends the truffle-oil “macaron” from Pierre Hermé in the rue Bonaparte, as another beautiful blend between experimentation and tradition). Having lived in Philadelphia, Princeton, Berlin, Thailand, England, Boston and San Francisco, she’s able to say decisively that the City of Light is incomparable.
Amanda holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University, and an M.Phil in European Literature and Culture from the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded the Gates Scholarship in 2006 and 2007. She is working to complete her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to her studies, she hopes to take up west African dance as an occasional alternative to runs along the Seine and to Vinyasa yoga.
Alexandra is originally from Washington, DC where she spent five years as a museum educator at the National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian museums. After completing her BA in Art History and French, she returned to Paris in 2009 to pursue an MA in museum studies. Since her first taste of the city in 2002 as an exchange student, Paris has been her favorite vacation destination. Now, it’s a place to call home.
Alexandra enjoys introducing the Louvre and its many treasures to curious visitors. "What I love about leading tours is that an open dialogue unfolds naturally. When we share ideas and reactions to each painting and sculpture, everyone involved is enriched from the experience in unexpected ways." While not musing at the Louvre or other Parisian museums, Alexandra can be found strolling along Canal Saint-Martin or sampling the decadent macaroons at Pierre Hermé.
Born in Korea and raised in the Philippines, Sun-Young is a PhD candidate at Harvard University, currently conducting dissertation research in Paris. She received a BA in Architecture from Princeton University and an MA from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, before devoting her studies to the early 19th century Parisian built environment. Her dissertation focuses on the interactions between medicine, the body, and architecture between 1815 and 1848.
When not giving tours for Paris Muse or sifting through musty archival documents, Sun-Young can be found practicing the art of flânerie in the streets of Paris, often with a pastry in hand.
Rachel Helfand Giuseppi
Originally a Los Angeleno, Rachel became a permanent ex-patriot in 2004 when she moved to London. There, she went on to complete her MA degree in Art History at Richmond University focusing on Modernism and 20th century Armenian art in Diaspora. After working in the exhibitions department at the Victoria and Albert Museum and then at London’s Victoria Miro Gallery, she moved to Paris to settle permanently with her French husband. Leading programs for Paris Muse has been a welcome return to the origin of her art historical passion, inside the heart of France’s most celebrated museums.
In addition to leading tours for Paris Muse, Rachel also teaches a course on the contemporary art market at the American University in Paris. When not musing about art she can be found practicing her favorite hobby photography, and doting on her lovely French bulldog.
Born in New York City, Alexandra grew up in San Francisco, where she attended a French bilingual school and began her lifelong love affair with France. She earned her BA in History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, where she also led tours of the Harvard Art Museums. After studying abroad in Paris and working at the International Council of Museums, she is delighted to be back in the City of Lights once again on the Williams-Lodge fellowship. Alexandra earned her Master's degree in Contemporary Art and Exhibition at the Sorbonne and has also worked at Immanence (an artist-run exhibition space in Paris' Montparnasse district), the Fonds National d'Art Contemporain (the French national collection of contemporary art), and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is now working at the Arts Arena of the American University of Paris and preparing an exhibition at Paris' Palais de Tokyo. When she's not in museum galleries with Paris Muse visitors, Alexandra enjoys traveling, going to the theater, and seeking out the perfect tarte aux fraises.
Kelly discovered museums as an undergraduate at DePauw University, and quickly left her chemistry major to explore the deeply rewarding field of art history. Her interests soon brought her to Paris—a city that is itself a museum—and she’s been returning as often as possible since. Her previous experience includes work as a research assistant at the Musée d’Orsay, where she took every opportunity to sneak away and spend time with the paintings. She has also worked at the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice, the New Museum in New York, and the Getty in Los Angeles.
Kelly enjoys teaching in museums and sharing her passion for art, and particularly appreciates the diverse insights of Paris Muse visitors. "Through conversation, I always manage to see more than I had before. The objects are renewed for me each time I visit them." She has a master’s degree in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. Currently, as a PhD student at MIT, she works on the intersection between science and aesthetics in nineteenth-century France. She spends her free time wandering Paris’ many parks and sharing summer picnics with friends.
As an art history major at the University of California, San Diego, Jessica came to France to spend an undergraduate year in Bordeaux. After several summers in Paris, she was able to move to the city full-time in 2009. Before that, she earned an MA in art history from Williams College. She has also worked in the Education Departments of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Williams College Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and MassMoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, giving tours and developing programs for visitors of all ages. Jessica received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 2012. Her dissertation examined the role of portraiture in the social lives of artists in eighteenth-century France. When not thinking about portraits or giving tours for Paris Muse, Jessica spends her time looking for the best tarte au citron in Paris, watching rugby, and exploring the French music scene.
Originally from California, Katie Hornstein devised a career-path to satisfy her chronic Francophilia. As an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley, Katie majored in Art History and French, and studied abroad in Lyon, France for a year. After graduating, she returned to France to teach English at a French high school and intern at the Centre Pompidou. She headed back to the United States in 2003 to begin a PhD at the University of Michigan which eventually allowed her to move back to Paris for dissertation research on a Fulbright Fellowship. After defending her dissertation in 2010, Katie received a post-doctoral fellowship and now spends her time revising her doctoral thesis into a book, and eating her way through Paris.