Demonstration, Exposition, Exhibition: A View of Mount Holyoke Student Activism

This exhibition presents a wide variety of student activism topics ranging chronologically from the late 1960s to the present. The subjects include the development of a Black Studies program at Mount Holyoke College, hatred directed toward lesbian and bisexual students, apartheid and divestment concerns in the 1980s, curricular changes, reproductive rights, and finally, contemporary contention surrounding the presence of trans students on campus.

These topics demonstrate how students throughout Mount Holyoke’s history had a talent for organizing and personally tailoring their experiences at the College to obtain the treatment they deserve. We as curators believe we are being activists by selecting items from the College’s history to commemorate the work that these students put forth in their four short years at Mount Holyoke. The topics in this exhibit show how the rights current students are fighting for are not that different from the rights that students of yesterday had advocated.


This online exhibition, designed and created by Sophie Hanson, Class of 2020,  is based on a physical exhibition on display in the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections from August 2018 through January 2019

The student curators are: 

Mae Humphreville, Class of 2019: The Battle for Women’s Reproductive Rights and “Stop Blood Money, Divest Now!”;

Chloe Jensen, Class of 2020: RECORD IT AND FIGHT BACK!: History of LGBTQ Activism on Campus;

Leo Rachman, Class of 2020: Desire and Action: The Development of Black Studies at MHC and Trans Lives at Mount Holyoke College Today;

and Jorie Thuon, Class of 2019: The Case for Participation.

Demonstration, Exposition, Exhibition: A View of Mount Holyoke Student Activism