Partner Highlight: A World Record Breaking Event That Was Out Of This World!

Jen D'Agostino, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium
Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium

When your Executive Director asks you to “dream up something big,” you dream up something big.  And what could be bigger than breaking a Guinness World Record?  On Friday, August 10th, the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, located in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, set out to break the record for the Largest Astronomy Lesson in the World.  Main Street was closed down, street lights were shut off, and a 16 foot high stage, lit with black lights, was erected all in an effort to bring the record home to Vermont.

 

Previously set at 1104 people and held by The Shire of Kalamunda in Australia, breaking the record was to be no small feat- especially with Mother Nature forecasting the possibility of rain in the days leading up to the event.  However, when it was all said and done, the skies were clear, the participants were plentiful and 1701 participants took in a lesson hosted by museum science educator, Bobby Farlice-Rubio. 

1701 is not the only important number for our World Record.  Check out our Guinness-by-the-numbers stats:

  • 80 volunteers from the community helped us make this dream a reality- Guinness required that no museum staff or volunteers be involved in the counting and monitoring of the attempt.
  • 3 turnstiles counted the entry and exits of our participants.
  • 35.7.95 minutes marked the total length of our record breaking astronomy lesson- Guinness required we clock the lesson to the .01 second.
  • 175 days between the day the idea was formed until the day the record was broken
  • 523 hours worked by museum staff to make our goal happen
  • 3 months- the amount of time we will wait for the final stamp of approval from Guinness to make this record an official World Record.

The excitement of this event has lasted well beyond the evening of August 10th.  On a daily basis our guests and neighbors continue to ask “what will you do next?”  While we have no more record breaking events on the horizon, our sights are set on the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing and the planning has already begun!

To learn more about this world-breaking astronomy event, contact Jen D'Agostino at jdagostino@fairbanksmuseum.org