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MHCAM, meet LYNK

This summer, the Museum was honored to host three Mount Holyoke undergraduate interns who chose to use their LYNK internship funding to gain museum experience. Associate Curator of Visual and Material Culture Aaron Miller highlights the summer work experiences of Jamie Collings ’18, Cassie Peltier ’18, and Emily Tarantini ’18.

August 17, 2017
Aaron Miller

MHCAM, meet LYNK

This summer, the Museum was honored to host three Mount Holyoke undergraduate interns who chose to use their LYNK internship funding to gain museum experience in multiple departments at MHCAM.

Mount Holyoke’s LYNK is an innovative program developed to give each participating student the tools they need to meet their own unique future career goals.  

This two-credit program involves meeting with staff at the Career Development Center (CDC) where students discuss possible internships and are coached on resume building. Internship and ethical research training is bolstered by conversations with previous LYNK students and professionals in the student’s specific field. This prepwork leads to a funded internship courtesy of the Universal Application Fund (UAF). Lastly, students engage in post-internship reflection with coaching for their upcoming LEAP presentation which is a student symposium for reporting their internship experiences.   

The following highlights the summer work experiences of Jamie Collings ’18, Cassie Peltier ’18, and Emily Tarantini ’18. All three of these students are part of Mount Holyoke’s Public History, Museums, Archives and Digital Humanities Nexus.

 

Jamie Collings ’18

Jamie Collings '18
Photo Credit: 

History major with a Nexus track in Public History, Museums, Archives and Digital Humanities

Jamie was no stranger to the Museum, having visited many times with classes from the History Department. It was in part this “familiarity and convenience” that led him to pursue an MHCAM internship. Drawn to the curatorial side of museum work, Jamie spent his summer conducting original research on everything from Haida objects from the Northwest Coast to 17th-century European crossbows.

Building on the knowledge and interest he gained from Desmond Fitzgibbon’s “History of Money” course last semester, Jamie’s primary summer project was more in-depth research on the numismatic collection where he revamped and updated the catalogue of almost 2,000 coins. Jamie identified unknown coins, corrected issues, standardized the data, and weighed and measured in his review of the entire collection. Jaimie said that the monotony of producing new labels for each object was broken by the thrill of having “2,000 years of European history in the palm of your hand.”   

When asked about the benefits of the internship Jamie points out the value of more object handling and cataloguing experience and ultimately how one internship can often lead to “better access to other museum work.”

 

Cassie Peltier ’18

Cassie Peltier '18
Photo Credit: 
History major with a Nexus track in Public History, Museums, Archives and Digital Humanities

Through classwork Cassie also had a lot of experience with the Museum’s collections but realized she “was only seeing the tip of the iceberg” when it came to the Museum’s holdings. Considering a future in museum studies, Cassie wanted to know more about what happens “behind the scenes” and also the difference between the house museums she had previously worked at and a larger institution like MHCAM.

In addition to other research projects, working with 4th graders from Mosier Elementary, and exhibition prepwork, Cassie has focused much of her summer on analyzing the collection of Native American beadwork. Cassie herself is a craft artist and explains that her knowledge of the beadwork was “on a technical level but wanted to understand more of the cultural history.” Cassie’s research has added considerably to what we know about these materials and their production and some of the objects she has worked with will be on view at the Museum in the spring.

Cassie spent time this summer with the curatorial, education, and collections departments and praised the opportunity “to work with everyone in the museum---not just seeing one side of something.”

 

Emily Tarantini ’18

Emily Tarantini '18
Photo Credit: 
Double major in Anthropology and Geology with a Nexus track in Public History, Museums, Archives and Digital Humanities

Like our other summer interns, Emily had previously visited the Museum with classes. Although she had worked in other institutions Emily wanted to get involved with MHCAM collections claiming: “I’m a Mount Holyoke student---it’s exciting to take advantage of what’s here.”

Most of Emily’s museum background has been in archaeology and artifact-handling but this summer she has been focusing on the registrarial side of things. Here with the collections department Emily worked primarily with archival materials relating to early exhibitions---the earliest records so far are from 1931. Emily asks, “where else can you add to your resume while you work with the tangible history of your college?” The work inventorying, organizing, and consolidating these records will make the materials much more accessible for Museum staff and future researchers.

 

Jamie, Cassie, and Emily have all made extraordinary and lasting contributions to the Museum. This summer LYNK has helped these MHC students gain practical experience and helped the Museum care for, understand, and interpret its collection. A big thank you from MHCAM!

For more information about the LYNK program visit www.mtholyoke.edu/lynk.

-Aaron Miller, Associate Curator of Visual and Material Culture