Meet Cassie Peltier ’18, who came to Mount Holyoke from Williamstown, Massachusetts. A history major with a Nexus in Museums, Archives and Public History, Cassie served as a board member for the Mount Holyoke Folk Music and Dance Society, where she taught Irish step and ceili dances, co-organized contra dances, and helped host a Scottish Highland dance workshop. She also studied modern Irish Gaelic through the Five College Supervised Independent Language Program. After graduation, Cassie hopes to complete fellowships and internships at museums, learning all aspects of the field, and then study textile conservation.
“I’ve never found another place with so many like-minded yet mind-bogglingly diverse and encouraging human beings.”
Name: Cassie Peltier ’18
Hometown: Williamstown, MA
Major: History with Nexus in Public History, Museums, and Archives
Why did you choose Mount Holyoke?
I transferred to Mount Holyoke because of the wonderful class selection, because students and faculty all seem so intellectually alive, because of the beautiful historic buildings, and the rich resources for museum, archive, and library work throughout the Pioneer Valley. Being close enough to home that I could drive back on weekends, as well as the fact that one of my dearest friends was here for 3 of my 4 semesters, made MHC seem that much more like home.
What is the greatest lesson you learned at MHC?
Challenge is necessary for a fulfilling life.
What do you value most about your Mount Holyoke education?
I don't know if I could pinpoint one thing. I suppose it's a combination of avid support from faculty and staff paired with the encouragement (and need!) to be intellectually independent in conceiving and completing research/courses of study.
Is there an MHC moment or relationship that changed your life?
There is a class which led to the moments and relationships which have changed my life most. Professor Christine DeLucia's Material Culture course made me realize that my lifelong love for art, history and "old stuff" could be brought together in a museum career. Through this class I met Aaron Miller, who has been my primary supervisor and mentor in both academic and professional work relating to the Art Museum, history of the Pioneer Valley, and the history of Mount Holyoke itself (which, in turn, has introduced me to historical archaeology).
How has The Lynk impacted your studies and experience?
I interned at the MHC Art Museum for about 2 months over the summer, working with the curatorial, collections, and education departments on a wide variety of projects and programs. I completed several pieces of independent research on objects in the collection and, following my summer Lynk internship, curated a spotlight exhibit highlighting textiles and beadwork from both European and Native American contexts. My Lynk experience gave a focus to my final semester and helped me articulate concrete reasons for the loosely related courses I selected intuitively throughout my time at Mount Holyoke. I realize that I am much better prepared for the professional world than I had thought! I now feel more able to apply for fellowships, internships, and entry level jobs at museums.
List your top 3 favorite things about MHC:
1) Meeting friends from around the world.
2) The library (and the librarians in it!).
3) Rao's coffee.
What do you hope to do after you graduate from MHC?
My hope is that I can build a career in museums that allows me to curate, preserve, and restore fabric pieces. I’d also like to work on archaeology projects, perhaps as a clothing and textile specialist.