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John Yahner

Smithsonian Wonk


Cred CAS/MA Literature; BA, University of New Hampshire

Livelihood Speechwriter to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

Interests Music, politics, museums, galleries, college football and basketball, especially University of Michigan

Last Book You Read A Geography of Secrets by Frederick Reuss

What Keeps You Up at Night? Serial commas. Parental guilt.

Hobbies Bike, motorcycle, billiards, skiing, yoga

Why Are You a Wonk? I’m a fox not a hedgehog. Which means that, instead of knowing a lot about one thing, I know a little about a lot of what goes on at the Smithsonian: art, science, history, culture; it’s all there and I learn something new all the time from brilliant experts passionate about what they do. See for yourself, start at and explore from there.