Luton Wardown Park Museum attempts Guinness World Record for wearing straw boaters

By Culture24 Reporter | 14 August 2014

The people of Luton are looking to break the Guinness World Record for straw boater-wearing in the latest installment of their campaign to transform their museum

a photo of a group of smiling people wearing hats
Museum Maker campaigners don their straw boaters in Luton for a Guinness World Record attempt© Luton On Sunday
Last spring, the Luton team supporting the town’s ancient Wardown Park Museum sent a video viral.

Based on Pharrell’s ubiquitous hit, Happy, the chirpy singalong culminated in a hat – perhaps the ultimate symbol of Luton’s past – being shipped to the famously headwear-conscious pop star.

Williams has since been spotted sporting a distinctive straw boater, and on Saturday (August 16), in an event which has won sponsorship from London Luton Airport, these mischievous museum lovers are making a Guinness World Records attempt with more than 700 hats, and they are calling on the public to join in.

The "once in a lifetime event" is the latest from Museum Makers, a bold band of volunteers, made up of members of the community who are committed to saving and recreating Wardown Park Museum with community involvement at its heart.

“When people think of Luton, often they aren’t great thoughts,” says one of the Museum Makers, Sam.

“Now, we can let this get us down, until we accept it and move on, or we can do something to change that.

“People could say that Luton gave the world nothing of worth, but they would be oh so wrong.

“The Hat Factory wasn’t named at random, nor was the Hatters football team. Silly as it may sound, Luton’s legacy is in hats."

Sam believes Pharrell Williams wearing a Luton boater has taken the town’s heritage around the world and made it “a near-constant topic of discussion.”

“We need to strike while the iron is hot” he says, adding, “that hat has definitely turned up the heat.”

Massing in the elegant parklands surrounding the former Victorian mansion – itself a home for an impressive display of hats – the group are basing their effort around the straw boater Luton is famous for manufacturing.

They expect Luton Town’s supporters (and possibly players) to turn out in force for what Sam calls a “just-plain-fun day out”.

“There’s a purpose. There’s a genuine, uniting idea,” he says.

“With any luck, we will not only break the world record for the most worn in one place, but smash the previous record to pieces.”

Starts 11.30am on August 16. Sign up and follow Museum Makers on their blog, Facebook and Twitter @museummakers.

What do you think?Leave a comment below.

More on Museum Makers and Wardown Park

YouTube video inspired by Pharrell's Happy goes viral for museum lovers in Luton

Rare 18th century hat recovered from cottage wall revealed at Luton's Wardown Park Museum

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Really enjoyed my day - how many hats were there, I had to leave before the announcement.


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