Prized UMS Collection Tied Up at Burnham Memorial Library

Principal Chris Antonicci of Union Memorial School has come up with a creative way of encouraging students to visit Burnham Memorial Library.

Principal Antonicci with part of his tie collection

Mr. Antonicci has worn a tie to work nearly every day without exception for all of his twenty-one years in education, and they have become a hit with his students. For the month of October, however, he will forgo the accessory—directing the students inquiring about it to view his tie display at the library instead.

About half of Mr. Antonicci's tie collection is on display at Burnham Memorial Library

The ties have developed quite a following over time. Mr. Antonicci created a game based on the classic Memory using matching pictures taken of his ties. And this is the second year of the Tie Club, where any student who wears a tie to school can get his or her picture taken with Mr. Antonicci. And in his biography (as written and illustrated by second graders), you’ll notice that the illustrators were careful to include his trademark accessory.

Only about half of Mr. Antonicci’s approximately 120 ties fits into the display case at the library. He has collected ties for every major holiday, but his goals are to amass ties representing virtually all themes and occasions, and he would like to have a different tie for every day of the school year. And while he has some ties that play music, he would like to add at least one to his collection that features blinking lights.

As part of the strategy to encourage the students to visit the library, Mr. Antonicci and some of the teachers at UMS will read Mr. Tanen’s Ties and Mr. Tanen’s Tie Trouble, written by author Maryann Cocca-Leffler, aloud to them. He has also created a scavenger hunt based on the display for UMS students to complete as additional incentive to get them into the library.

Fun fact: although the tie assumed its more universal shape and style in the early nineteenth century, the earliest recorded example of them dates back to China’s Emperor Qin Shi Huang in 210 BC. The terra-cotta soldiers discovered in his mausoleum in Xi’an wore a version of the modern-day necktie. Incredible, isn’t it?

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