I would like to dedicate this surreal evening, waiting for our flight to Paris at gate E06, to the two people who will be in my thoughts throughout this journey: Malinda and Marshall.
Malinda Blustain was the Director of the Peabody Museum of Archeology at Andover when this program was born. She had the idea of asking the French Department to help her translate a long letter she had received from the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale in Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris. I will never forget this casual lunch we shared at the dining hall in late 2009, thinking about how to deal with this very long letter. She suggested involving students. I replied enthusiastically that I happened to be teaching advanced courses that could accommodate such a project easily. A year and a half later, she and I were flying to Paris to return two precious Piette pebbles to the French museum and imagine how to bring students there. A year after that, the idea of the Piette Program was born.
Marshall Cloyd has been an extraordinary steward of the Peabody Museum for a long time. He picked up immediately on the idea of a collaboration between the Peabody and the MAN in France. He enthusiastically supported and advocated a student trip to France. It was thanks to his generous funding that Malinda and I were able to go to Paris in 2011. It was thanks to his enthusiasm and support that I continued working on this project. So, in many ways, it is thanks to him that we are at gate E06 tonight.
Thank you, Malinda. Thank you, Marshall.