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Deborah Sampson
George Washington with William Lee

All About Second Story Tours

James Forten
Joseph Brandt

Meet the Team


Alison English

I’m Alison and I'm one of the co-founders of Second Story Tours. I’m passionate about field trips.  That sounds strange, I know.  But after spending the last 12 years of my career helping teachers book field trips for various historical sites and museums, I have seen the good, the bad, and the boring of student-focused tours and programs.  I believe that field trips should be fun, high-energy, and engaging and that students connect with history best when they see themselves reflected in the narrative.  I also believe that field trips shouldn’t be a burden for teachers, who let’s face it, have more important things on their plates than planning an annual field trip.  It’s why I set out to create a better field trip model.  One that is easy for teachers to plan, supports their classroom work, and most importantly is fun, engaging, and exciting for students. 

I'm Michelle, the other co-founder of Second Story Tours. As a curator and object specialist in museums for many years, I got to explore stories of lots of different people through things they owned, including some incredible objects like Betsy Ross’s eyeglasses and George Washington’s tent.  As a Minnesotan who came to Philly for college (Go Explorers!), I fell in love with the narrow brick-lined alleys, the hidden gardens, and charming colonial homes. There’s something about walking the historic streets that makes me feel curious about  the people who lived and worked here long ago. I want students to experience that feeling and it is the reason I started Second Story Tours - to connect students with Philadelphia’s uniquely rich and diverse history and instill a life-long fascination with the people who built our city and our nation.

Michelle Presnall
Lorna Howley photo.jpg
Lorna Howley

Hi I'm Lorna. I am a freelance artist currently serving as Artistic Director for Second Story Tours. Growing up in New Orleans, I was surrounded by captivating storytellers, and community members sharing the complicated history of NOLA and its people. In Philadelphia I found my voice and have been privileged to share the history of this amazing city. I have been directing, writing and performing history-based programs in Philadelphia's historic district since 2006. These programs include storytelling, costumed interpretation, puppet shows and interactive tours for the public and school groups.

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