Even though Lebanon is considered one of the smallest countries in the Middle East and the world, it is a home for creativity. Lebanese people have won many international awards and records, including Guinness World Record.
Nabil Billy Karam has founded the Billy Karam Miniature Museum in Zouk Mosbeh, which contains the largest number of miniature cars and dioramas in the World.
His museum won him two Guinness World Record in 2011 and 2017, respectively, and a third one recently in 2020. He also won the largest collection in the world of stamps featuring automobiles on November 1st, 2018.
The museum is located inside the Karam Wood Factory in Zouk Mosbeh. It contains 37,777 unique items of model cars and 577 unique items of dioramas. The collection belongs entirely to him, a rally champion and professional driver.
“My museum started out 30 years ago because I was kicked out from my house by my wife,” Karam says candidly in the video of the Guinness World Records.
“She told me please take all your stuff and put it in your office and play [there] because here it’s a house and we don’t have space for all this stuff,” he said.
So, Karam carried “all his stuff” to a rented place in Zouk Mosbeh with his brother who took a room for his classic car collection and Billy took another room for his model cars and dioramas.
The Lebanese rally champion explained that the museum is a mirror of his life, as dioramas have been his hobby since he was a child. Riding on a grain, Karam introduced in the video his oldest and one of his biggest dioramas.
“It’s 40 years old. It took us 8 months to fix it and to change the water and the grass.” The mini-city has 400 trucks and cars, a food factory, a train station, and electricity. It looks like Beirut, minus the train station and electricity.
“It’s a beauty; it’s one of my best dioramas,” Karam says admiring his masterpiece while riding a grain that lets him have visual sight of his city from above. “We built this grain because it’s a 4 meters wide diorama so it’s impossible to reach its middle without a grain.”
Karam also introduces us in the video to his dioramas of war, saying: “Because we are Lebanese, we are influenced by war all the time.” He has a diorama of the world war two Battle of the Bulge, Battle of Berlin, and Battle of England.
“I built these just to show that war is not good and not safe and we don’t want any more war in Lebanon,” Karam explained. “It happened and we hope it never happens again. That’s the message we want to send from my museum.”
Karam confirmed that the Billy Karam Museum is free of charge for anyone who would like to wander through his model cars and city. “Guinness Record means you are a child and you don’t want to grow up,” Karam said, laughing at the end of the video.