Granby Students Get To Know Emily Dickinson

As a part of the English curriculum, Granby High students traveled to Amherst to tour the Emily Dickinson museum.


AP Literature students at Granby Junior/Senior High School took look at the life of American poet Emily Dickinson. On November 17th, the students traveled to Emily’s house for the day. The poet’s house, where she grew up and spent most of her later years, is located in Amherst and has been converted into a museum where people can learn all about her life and work.  The museum captures the life of one of the greatest poets and offers a great experience for students.

“I took my first group of kids in 2019 and they loved it,” said coordinator of the trip and GJSHS English teacher Ms. Funk. “We haven’t gone since due to COVID and renovations, but I’m hoping this can become a regular part of the English 11 curriculum.”

Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 in Amherst to Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson. Emily had an older brother named Austin and a younger sister named Lavina. The family had moved in and out of the house for years, and finally in 1855, they settled back in the home. The connecting house was built for her brother and his wife, who had been her closest friend for years, Susan Huntington. One of the many things the students learned about that house was that Emily’s dad had built her a greenery for her love for plants.

As students toured the museum, they got to see the library and replicas of the books that were left in the house after Emily’s death. They also got to see Emily’s, and her mothers room. The whole house was historically accurate, with everything being perfectly detailed to give you a glimpse into Emily’s home life in the 1800s. Apple TV made a series on the events of Emily’s life titled “Dickinson.” While furniture is hard to keep for a prolonged period of time, Apple TV had donated some of their props from the show to the museum to reinvent the 1800s. Students got to see Emily’s writing desk, which she used to write over 1,800 poems in her lifetime.

Emily’s writing has continued to inspire people 190 years later, with her writing style being so unique and different from other poets of her time.

“Working here at the museum is great because you can continue to learn from visitors, and read about her life, which is so fascinating to me.” says one tour guide at the museum.

While Emily is known for her poetry, the museum provides a lot more information about Emily than just her poetry.

“The students really only know Emily for her poetry,” says Ms. Funk “So it was nice to see the time period and the house and get a sense of the historical nature of her as a writer.”