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 Smallest Museum-world record set by the Edgar's Closet Museum

 TUSCALOOSA, Ala., USA-- Tommy Flowers has put together a museum dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe into a 22 square feet closet at University Place Middle School-seting the world record for the Smallest Museum.

   Photo: University Place 6th grade math teacher Tommy Flowers poses for a portrait in his closet museum at University Place School in Tuscaloosa, Ala. / Photo by Dusty Compton (enlarge photo)

 The museum in its present form is a collection of photos and objects related to Poe, a Boston native who died in 1849 at age 40, and his literary legacy.

   Some of the items have been donated while others Flowers obtained from places like eBay, the online auction site. Plastic hearts, skulls and even a real skeleton crowd the confines of Edgar's Closet, while dozens of photos line its walls.

The museum recognized previously as the world's smallest is a roadside attraction in Arizona, a 134-square-foot facility that bills itself as showcasing 'artifacts of ordinary life.'

  'We're by far the smallest,' Flowers said, as he welcomed a visitor to his classroom. But more importantly, Flowers said, his Poe museum is inspiring his young students to become interested in literature. 'It's sparked a big interest in books kids normally wouldn't read,' he said.

  'We started reading the comics in class and the kids really enjoyed them,' he said. 'The main reason I did this was to get the kids interested in reading the classics.'

   In fact, many students enjoyed reading Poe so much that they began putting together projects based on the stories and poems they had read. Many of these projects now form the foundation of Edgar's Closet.

  Although Flowers teaches math, he encourages his students to explore literature. His use of Poe demonstrates the modern classroom, he said, where teaching requires divergent subject matters to be tied together.

   'My students calculated the square footage of the museum,' Flowers said with a laugh. 'That's where the math comes in. This has been a lot of fun for the kids.'

  'I would like a few visitors,' Flowers said. 'But more than anything, I'd like to see a few teachers have museums in their closets.'


  Friday, October 10, 2008

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