Georgia College & State University will open a gift to fans of Flannery O’Connor on the eve of the renowned author’s 98th birthday.
Georgia College, O’Connor’s alma mater, will unveil its new Interpretive Center at Andalusia during a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., Friday, March 24.
The opening kicks off two days of birthday celebrations, including author talks, book signings and free tours of Andalusia — O’Connor’s home from 1951 until her death in 1964. On Saturday, March 25, there will be a party featuring cake and singing.
The Interpretive Center at Andalusia is a $3.5 million investment in the preservation and interpretation of O’Connor’s life, literary legacy and the history of the Central Georgia region that inspired her writing.
The center encompasses 5,300 square feet of exhibition, artifact storage, retail and conference space. The Center is designed around an open-concept storage facility allowing visitors greater access to the many personal affects collected at Andalusia. Visitors also will be able to view the work of curatorial staff to catalogue and preserve O’Connor’s material legacy.
Georgia College Director of Museums Matt Davis says the Interpretive Center is a giant step in restoring the farm where O’Connor completed the majority of her published output and that appeared in stories including “Good Country People,” “A Circle in the Fire” and “The Displaced Person.”
“For fans, the improvement is two-fold,” Davis said. "It will improve and continue to enhance what you can experience about the life of Flannery O’Connor at Andalusia, and it also helps us to take all the non-original functions out of the house museum and recreate the environment Flannery knew when she lived there.”
Following the Interpretive Center ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., Friday, March 24, Andalusia and the Interpretive Center will open for free tours between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
At Saturday’s birthday celebration, author Amy Alznauer will discuss and sign copies of her book “The Strange Birds of Flannery O’Connor” at 1 p.m. Museum staff and guests are invited to sing “Happy Birthday” and enjoy cake at 2 p.m. Dr. Monica Miller will close the event at 6 p.m. with a lecture about her book “Dear Regina: Flannery O’Connor’s Letters from Iowa.”