Travel Opportunities

Your Tour Director:

Henry Matthews manages GVSU’s extensive art collections and he organizes exhibitions and a variety of related educational programs. He also seeks ways to connect the university to art communities around the world. Henry was formerly the Director of the Muskegon Museum of Art, on the staff of the Detroit Institute of Art and instructor at numerous colleges and universities. A passionate believer in the inestimable value of travel, Henry has been conducting distinctive tours to destinations around the globe for more than 30 years.

616-331-3196 |

Image of Henry Matthews, Director of Galleries and Collections

New Travel Opportunities for 2019

Image of Serene, Venice from brochure

Serene Venice and the 58th Biennale

October 10-20, 2019

Venice has provided an enchanting and magical setting of indescribable atmospheric beauty for more than one thousand years.

In 2019, the former Serene Republic will host the 58th Biennale, which has been THE setting for the greatest of international contemporary art exhibitions on the planet for more than one century. In its growing success, the Biennale has expanded to many locations throughout the city that invite the visitor to explore and discover! Please join me there for ten days of pure magic. Venice always beckons you to return to her labyrinth of alleys and canals, magnificent city squares and stunning architecture, all of which are layered with rich histories. Join me as we return to Venice to explore, enjoy, rediscover and relax in this familiar, but always exciting setting. In addition, for those who have the time and simply cannot get enough of this magnificent country, please join us for the optional extension to the Veneto region. We’ll spend four additional days exploring Vicenza, Verona, Lakes Garda and Izeo, enjoy wine and olive oil tastings and more!

Please join us October 2019.

Here is the link to a downloadable PDF of the travel brochure.

For travelers who would like to register online, please to go to and use the code 101019MATT.

Past Tours

Gate to ancient medina of Fez, Morocco

MOROCCO The Legendary Kingdom, October 12 - 23, 2018

Toured in exploration of the rich history and culture of Morocco, an ancient kingdom whose Berber. Arab and African origins were spiced by the influence of Carthage and Imperial Rome as well as by France's brief 20th-century colonial occupation. Morocco is situated in the northwestern corner of the African continent, with varied landscapes that extend from the arid Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts to encompass snow-covered mountains, forests, high steppes and mountainous sand dunes.

The group journeyed to Morocco via fabled Casablanca but the focus of explorations was primarily on two imperial cities, Fes and Marrakesh, and journeying out from their environs to the surrounding countryside. Both cities are known for their exquisite architecture - from shady gardens cooled by trickling fountains to bustling and active trading bazaars filed with wares of beautiful carpets, ceramics, wood and metal crafts. They enjoyed the sophisticated culinary history reflecting the country's Berber, Arab and European traditions and enjoyed the fabled warm and friendly hospitality of the Moroccan people.

There was an optional extension, for those with more time and an insatiable appetite for Moorish culture, for the adventure to continue across the Mediterranean Sea with a visit to the magnificent and legendary Alhambra in Granada, Spain (October 23-27).

heading from brochure - Vienna in December

The GVSU Art Gallery planned for another magical week in Vienna! The travelers immersed themselves in all that this rich, elegant city has to offer…Christmas markets with their enticing aromas, sparkling lights and unique wares; sumptuous architecture; the incomparable Vienna Boys Choir;legendary Lipizzaner horses; inviting cafés; fabulous museums; and a variety of musical performances. ‘Mit Schlag’ means with whipped cream—that’s the way the world-famous Sachertorte is served and was an excellent allegory for their stay.  One extraordinary highlight of the tour was an intimate all-Mozart concert with GVSU music faculty and international Classical Music Award Nominees Arthur Campbell and Helen Marlais in the 75-seat Bösendorfer Recital Hall at the Mozarthaus where the composer lived from 1784 to 1787. Stereo Magazine raves, “Campbell’s and Marlais’ playing is always exact, elegant, without excess. The beauty of this genuinely joint playing is so engaging that it seems to lack for nothing.” This very special event was made possible by Bösendorfer Pianos, Inc. The day began each morning at the centrally located Hotel Wandl, just minutes from most important sites. Every day they enjoyed a carefully arranged program and had additional options to explore on their own. 

Christmas in Vienna

Autumn in Amsterdam

Many exiting changes have recently taken place in Amsterdam and elsewhere in the Netherlands, especially in some of the leading art museums.  The fabled Rijkmuseum, the elegant and sophisticated Van Gogh Museum and the museum of modern art, The Stedelijk in Amsterdam was on the itinerary.  In the Hague the tour viewed Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and many other iconic paintings at the Mauritshuis. There was a day trip to Kroller Mueller Museum's outdoor sculpture garden and important collection of 19th and 20th-century Dutch art, as well as Het Loo, the Netherlands' Versailles.

The four-day extension included this years 56th Biennale di Venezia to explore international contemporary art in a thousand-year-old setting.

This art tour was offered in conjunction with the exhibition Dusk to Dusk at the Hope College Kruizenga Art Museum and the Art Gallery at GVSU in the fall of 2015, The 37 contemporary masterpieces were on loan from the Ekard Collection in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam - Natherlands

Vienna in Schlag!

Music, Art & Christmas Markets

Join the GVSU ART GALLERY for a magical week in Vienna!

The group immersed themselves in all the rich, prestigious city had to offer … Christmas markets with their enticing aromas, sparkling lights and unique wares; sumptuous palaces; the incomparable Vienna Boys Choir; legendary Lippizaner horses; inviting cafés; fabulous museums; and a variety of musical performances.

“Mit Schlag” means with cream—that’s the way the world-famous Sachertorte is served and what our whole week in Vienna was like!

One extraordinary highlight of our tour was an intimate concert with GVSU music faculty and international Classical Music Award Nominees Arthur Campbell and Helen Marlais in the 75-seat Bösendorfer Recital Hall at the Mozarthaus. Stereo Magazine raves, “Campbell’s and Marlais’ playing is always exact, elegant, without excess. The beauty of this genuinely joint playing is so engaging that it seems to lack for nothing.” This very special event was made possible by Bösendorfer Pianos, Inc.

Before the concert, the group enjoyed a private tour of the apartment in which Mozart lived and worked from 1784 to 1787. This is where the great composer wrote “The Marriage of Figaro” and three of the six Haydn Quartets. It is the only Viennese apartment occupied by Mozart that is still intact today. Immediately following the performance, they were Campbell’s and Marlais’ guests at a private reception.

Venice - Italy

Italy 2013

The group experienced the great Italian cultural center of Perugia and Venice in the late fall of 2013. This was a cultural double hitter; first, for the 20th anniversary celebration of Grand Rapids' sister city relationship with Perugia, followed by the unforgettable and magical charms of Venice during the 55th Venice Biennale, one the the most important contemporary art competitions in the world. 

They explored the ancient charms of Perugia, capital city of Umbria, founded by the Etruscans in the 6th century BCE.  A classic hill top city densely filled with layers of magnificent architecture reflective if it's long and proud history, Perugia offered spectacular views of the surrounding Umbrian countryside, including its neighbor, Assisi.  The journey included ancient tombs and medieval castles, renaissance palaces and baroque churches, and museums filled with masterpieces of Italian art.  They enjoyed the local cuisine and the warmth of its people.

The next stop was north to Venice, the light, waters, and architecture of which are legendary.  Included were the 55th International Art exhibit, La Biennale di Venezia!  They explored the historic riches of the floating city.  Her museums, churches, palaces, art and culture are unforgettable. Venice never disappoints.

Vienna city hall

Vienna, City of Dreams and Glittering History

October 18-28, 2010

As part of GVSU’s 50th Anniversary celebration year, Henry Matthews lead an in-depth exploration of one of the world’s great cultural treasures - Vienna, the capital of Austria and the former Austro-Hungarian empire.
The group visited some of the world’s greatest intact art collections ever assembled by a single family over many centuries. Private guides led them through the museums and glittering palaces and gardens built by the Hapsburg dynasty. Time was spent lingering in historic coffee houses and enjoying cultural performances of the famed Lipizzaner horses in their white marble performance hall as well as the opera and concerts - just some of the planned highlights of their visit.

Budapest and Prague Extension

October 28-November 3, 2010
To round out the experience, an optional extension was offered to the two other cities which defined this former empire: glorious Budapest, ancient capital of the former Hungarian kingdom and magical Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and arguably one of the most beautiful urban centers in the world.


Taj Mahal

December 28, 2007 - January 15, 2008

Deccan Golden Triangle Extension
January 13-18, 2008

The group tour enjoyed the colorful, inexhaustible energy of this country.  It included visits to ancient, abandoned cities in the middle of the desert and rides on painted elephants to magical Maharaja palaces perched precariously on cliff sides.  Also visited was the spectacular Taj Mahal!



Eternal Rome
October 12 - 22, 2007

The group visited Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain in the historical center of Rome.  Day two in Rome was spent viewing other sites in the city including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and St. Paul's.  The next couple of days the group visited the Vatican again and took a boat tour along the Tiber River.  Also included were trips to Florence, Trivoli and Ostia plus stops at many ruins, museums, piazzas, artist markets, churches and an excavation site.


Nefertiti Bust

Ancient Egypt in Europe

May 16 - 28, 2006

Dresden Extension
May 28 - 31,2006

This group tour was directed by Henry Matthews of GVSU and Paula Gangopadhyay, Curator of Education and Public Programs for the Public Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The trip was designed to complement the exhibition "Treasures of Ancient Egypt:  The Quest for Immortality", featured at the Van Andel Museum Center.  They visited famous and lesser know important Egyptian collections in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin.  Also visited where art and history museums, sculpture gardens and royal palaces.


South Africa

South Africa
February 26 - March 10, 2005

Lion Sand River Lodge Safari in Kruger National Park Extension
March 9 - 13, 2005

Included in this trip were Cape Town, Robben Island and the prison where Nelson Mandela was for 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned, vineyards in the Stellenbosch region, a once in a lifetime 2 day ride on the fabled Blue Train to Pretoria; then on to Johannesburg and the Apartheid Museum, and Soweto.


Sydney Opera House

Down Under with GVSU
Australian Discovery

May 14 - 28, 2004

New Zealand South Island Extension
May 28 - June 2, 2004

This group tour explored Australia and several of her exciting cities enjoying the great beauty and majesty of this magnificent continent and meeting its warm and friendly people, traveled through vast stretches of the central Outback region and swam in the Great Barrier Reef.


Pharaoh Seti I

Land of Pharaohs and mysteries

December 27, 2002 - January 9, 2003

London/Paris Extension
January 9 - 13, 2003

The group on this tour visited Cairo, cruised the Nile River, viewed ancient temple sites including those at Esna, Kom Ombo and Aswan, and entered ancient tombs and feared their curses!


If you are interested in traveling with us in the future, or for more information, please contact Henry Matthews at