Amanda Ohlke

As a key member of the Spy Museum creative team since 2004, she helped develop the museum’s exhibitions for the reopening in 2019.  Since 2004, she has worked on a wide variety of exhibitions and programs ranging from Civil War espionage to James Bond villains. She frequently represents the Museum in the media on historical and current espionage topics. She has been a guest expert on “Mysteries at the Museum” numerous times. Ms. Ohlke is the former Executive Director of the Museum Trustee Association where she developed director and board leadership education programs in partnership with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Getty Leadership Institute.

Presentation Topics

Mata Hari, The Seductive Spy 

The myth of Mata Hari as a femme fatale lives on in spy movies and even video games, but what did she really do?  Take a fresh look at the real story behind the seductive WWI spy’s legend—was she really a double agent?

Sisterhood of Spies: Extraordinary Women of Espionage 

Often underestimated, women have used this to their advantage and carried off exceptional intelligence operations.  Learn about spies such as Noor Inayat Khan who evaded the Nazis in occupied Paris while remaining in radio contact with the Allies during World War II and Civil War spymaster Elizabeth Van Lew who commanded a Union spy ring inside the Confederate capital of Richmond. 

James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Spy 

James Lafayette was a spy for the Patriots in Virginia during the fight for American Independence. Working closely with the Marquise de Lafayette, this enslaved man undertook “important commissions” and gathered “intelligences from the enemy’s camp.” This talk will explore how we know about James and his work as a spy for the Patriots—from speculation to documentation. .