Andalusia Musings: Reflections from Students

As graduation is upon us, several of the students who have been working with us who are leaving. Some are graduating tomorrow, and some are leaving us to follow different opportunities, but we appreciate all of them. All of the leaving students wrote a short reflection about their time here at Andalusia and what they valued learning during their time here.

We are so grateful for their contribution to Andalusia and wish them the best of luck wherever their next steps take them!

Deanna, Senior, Docent

“When I started working as a student docent in Andalusia, I honestly had very little knowledge about Flannery O’Connor or her works. I had read a couple of her short stories in my high school English literature classes, so I was familiar with her name. When I first drove up the historic drive though, I felt like I was being transported back in time.  

Over the past three years I have gained a deeper understanding of who Flannery O’Connor was as a person and a prolific southern gothic author. During my time as docent, I’ve expanded my research and exposure to O’Connor’s work to improve my interpretational tour for guests. Working at the historic museum, I gained insight to how Andalusia influenced Flannery O’Connor’s legacy, but it was not until I attended Bruce Gentry’s Flannery O’Connor English course at Georgia College that I truly took a dive into her literature. My favorite aspect of O’Connor’s writing is the ways in which she weaves her Catholic faith and sociological academic background within stories such as “A View of the Woods”. O’Connor’s characters become deeply layered and familiar to readers like me, all within twenty or thirty pages of the narrative. The ways in which she grabs your attention and doesn’t let it go until the very end of her stories such as “Revelation” fascinated me throughout the course. Gentry’s course exposed me to her literature where my time at Andalusia exposed me to her daily life and family background. My time at Andalusia also played a large role in my career path choice to pursue the museum field. I am looking forward to attending an online graduate program through the University of Alabama in Library Science and Archival studies. My work at Andalusia went beyond docent duties as I was also able to work with collections under the previous curator, Meghan Anderson. I’m extremely thankful for the opportunities and experiences given to me through my time at Andalusia; Home of Flannery O’Connor and look forward to returning in the years to come as a guest. “

Grace Rickman, Junior, Docent

Before I came to Andalusia, I knew a little about Flannery O’Connor’s life but had read most of her short stories. I have loved learning about her life here in Milledgeville and in this house. My favorite thing about giving tours was getting the chance to talk to people every day and hear the impact that Flannery had on their lives. Some people who came in to tour had been lifelong Milledgeville residents and grew up seeing Flannery and Regina around town, so it was a gift to talk to them about all the memories they had pertaining to the family, and Milledgeville in general. I also enjoyed learning about Flannery’s relationship with her mother, and how different both of them were. The more I learned about Regina, the more I came to respect her and the powerful woman she was. They loved each other greatly, but Flannery took any opportunity she had to get on her mother’s nerves which creates some hilarious stories in itself; like the time Flannery bought her first pair of peafowl to spite her mother because Regina hated birds. It’s special to live in the same town as Flannery’s home, but to work in the place that inspired most of her writing was even greater. I am thankful for my time working here at Andalusia and I’m excited to see finished product of all the work that has been put into the new building! 

Britney Cherry, Senior, Collections Intern

Before beginning my internship at Andalusia, I did not know much about the historic home. I had visited on two separate occasions for classes, but only knew the general knowledge of the site. Now after working here nearly every week for the past four months, I have a much better understanding of the home and the inner workings of the museum itself. My internship involved working within the collections of the historic site, properly accessioning artifacts recovered from previous archeological digs throughout the grounds. 

Working with these various artifacts that ranged from pieces of floral printed glasses, shotgun shell casings, and a rusted axe I was able to gain a better understanding of the history of the historic home and the people that once lived there. While some of the artifacts I recorded were perhaps not the most glamorous, they were all just as important as any piece throughout the home. These artifacts revealed the daily activities and lives of those who once lived there, which provided me with a better idea of the history and context of the historic site. 

As well as gaining a better sense of the history of Andalusia, through my internship I was also able to better understand how a historic site functions and runs on the day to day. I now know the workings of a proper museum collection and all of the care that goes into handling historic artifacts. Overall, I greatly enjoyed my time working at Andalusia and am very thankful for the opportunity to work within such an interesting and well-established museum. 

David Wolmack, Senior, Collections Intern

The last time I visited Andalusia Farms was during the spring semester of my sophomore year in college. Before my class went, I did not know very much about Flannery, but her name was spoken quite often around the school and in the art department. Arriving here for the first time was shocking to say the least, not because it was different or anything along those lines, but because I did not expect a farmhouse. Touring the property and the house was fantastic getting to see what the twentieth century was like in a different area of Georgia was needed. Seeing the rooms in the house gave a good insight into how the family lived and operated during their years here.  

I Would not return to Andalusia until three years later when I started my internship at the museum. Once I returned the memories made prior started to return and I remember how much I missed going to museum and how important they are in my life. My internship here was vast in my task which is what I needed to find out what would be enjoyable when I leave college. Collections management was the main task I was given, this gave me knowledge and the ability to see what this home deeply held inside. Seeing the objects and pictures belonging to the family showed they were a family who held religion highly.  I also had the chance to see what the family spent money on and invested in during the time, some were normal, and some were funny to find out. I believe if I were to take the tour again after working here, I would look at things much closer. 

This is a must-see location in Milledgeville no matter if you are here for one day or a week 

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