An Open Letter to the Most Factually Incorrect Museum in America

By Jamie Lee Curtis Taete

Dear Guinness World Record Museum,

I recently visited your Los Angeles location. As was the case with the Hollywood Wax Museum last month, I was not impressed by what I saw. 

It's not just that your museum was generally shitty, boring, and broken-down. There was a much larger problem than that. 

As I walked around the museum, I saw several "world records" on display that I knew were incorrect. For instance, the above claims that Titanic holds the record for highest box office gross, and that Lance Armstrong has the most Tour De France titles. 

So when I got home, I did some fact-checking. The amount of false information you have on display is truly staggering. 

Now, I don't intend for this to be a definitive list of all of the errors in your museum. Obviously I didn't have time to check all of the facts. But here are some things you claim are true that are not:

- You claim Michael Jackson's Bad is the 2nd biggest selling album of all time. It is actually the 10th biggest selling. 

- You claim Hilary Duff is the highest paid child TV actor. It is actually Angus T. Jones.

- You claim the longest mustache ever was 10 feet 2 inches long. According to the Guinness Book of Records (your book) it is actually 14 feet long. 

- You claim that Dustin Hoffman holds the record for most Best Actor Oscars, with two. Daniel Day Lewis has three.

- You claim that Jurassic Park has the biggest marketing budget of any movie ever. Wrong. Avatar does. 

- You claim that George Burns is the oldest man to win an Academy Award, at 79. Christopher Plummer won one when he was 82.

- You claim the Turkish lira is the least valuable currency in the world. This hasn't been the case since 2005.

-  You claim that at age 81, George Cukor is the oldest person to have ever directed a film. Spanish director Manoel de Oliveira is 104 and still working. 

*DEEP BREATH*

-You claim the Statue of Liberty is the world's tallest statue. It is actually the world's 37th tallest. 

- You claim the Golden Gate Bridge is the longest bridge in the world. The longest is actually the Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge in China. Golden Gate isn't even in the top 40. 

- You claim Hearst Castle is the most expensive home ever built. It is actually Antilia in Mumbai. 

-You claim the John Hancock building is the tallest apartment building in the world. The tallest is actually Princess Tower in Dubai. John Hancock isn't even in the top 40. 

- You claim Hamburg's Ohlsdorf Cemetery is the world's largest cemetery. It is actually Wadi al-Salam in Iraq.

- You claim the largest wine cellar in the world is at a winery called KWV in South Africa. It's actually at Milestii Mici in Moldova. 

- You claim the world's largest soccer stadium is Maracana Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It's actually North Korea's Rungnado May Day Stadium. 

- You claim the fastest jet ever is Lockheed's SR-71. It is actually NASA’s X-43.

- You claim the world's largest concrete dam is Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. It is actually the Three Gorges Dam in China. 

- You claim that the oldest man in the world is Shigechiyo Izumi. Shortly after his death, it was discovered that Shigechiyo had been lying about his age, and was actually only 105 at the time of his death, an age many people have reached.

- You claim the world record for juggling clubs is seven. It is nine.

- You claim the loudest snore ever recorded was 90 decibels. A British woman named Jenny Chapman recorded a snore of 111 decibels in 2009. 

- You claim the heaviest woman is Flora May Jackson. Carol Yager, who weighed 1,200 pounds at her heaviest, is the actual record holder. 

- You claim that Belgium and Luxembourg have the highest intake of calories per person per day. Shockingly, this record is actually held by the people of the USA. 

- You claim that something called Baz's Super Brew is the world's strongest beer, at 23 percent abv. This record was beaten when I was 15 and my friends and I would mix vodka with beer. Officially, it has also been beaten by a beer called Armageddon, which has 65 percent abv.

- You claim the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold went for $157,000. One has since been sold for $500,000.

- You claim the record for domino stacking is 1,002. Some dude in Belarus recently stacked 1,036.

Obviously, I might be wrong with some of my claims here. If that's the case, I apologize profusely. I'm only one dude with a laptop, whereas you are a MUSEUM DEVOTED TO WORLD RECORDS.  

Now, it's not like it would be expensive for you to change this stuff. Almost all of the information in your museum is presented on printouts stuck to walls. Like this sign—which is held together with fucking tape—that says Cats is about to become the longest running show in Broadway history.

This sign hasn't been accurate since 1997. How much could it possibly cost to get a new one of these printed? Admission to your museum is $16.99 for adults. There's no way you don't have the money. You've had 16 years to do it. Get your shit together, guys. 

A lot of your information is displayed on these super high-tech touchscreens, too. Which, presumably, would be free to update. So why is it still all completely wrong? The West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, hasn't been the "largest shopping centre" (sic) in the world since 2004. 

Some records I can understand why you wouldn't be in a hurry to change. This carpet, for instance, that has the long jump world record written on it. I'm sure custom-made carpets ain't cheap.

However, 29' 4½" has never been the world record for long jump. The actual world record is 29' 4¼"—a quarter-inch less. How are you guys so bad at this stuff? This thing must have been so expensive. You couldn't have double-checked your numbers before sending the order in?

It seems that you're aware of your problem, and some time in the early 2000s you started making up ridiculously niche records that have no chance of ever being beaten. Like "most latex feet made for a single film."

I'm no expert in trade laws, but I feel like this scam you're running must be illegal, right? Like, false advertising or something? You can't call yourself a "World Record Museum," then display things that aren't world records. It'd be like if someone bought tickets for Legoland, only to find out that it's actually a Holocaust museum upon arrival. 

Perhaps you could convert your museum into a living history exhibit? Like Colonial Williamsburg, but demonstrating what life was like inside a shitty, late-90s LA tourist trap? Or just burn the place to the ground and claim the insurance money? IDK.

Also, your water fountain was broken. 

Yours, 

Jamie Taete

@JLCT

Previously: An Open Letter to the Worst Wax Museum in America

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