Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Creation Museum, Petersburg, Kentucky, U.S.A.







On my recent roadtrip, my boyfriend and I happened upon a billboard for The Creation Museum (while on our way to the equally spectacular Breyerfest and the wonderful Roadside America). It was not on our itinerary, but we agreed that we'd be crazy not to go. It was well worth the stop; it was an amazing, if angering and perplexing, spectacle, well worth the $28 dollar admission.

The Creation Museum is the $33 Million showcase of a Christian Evangelical group called Answers in Genesis, an organization run by Ken Ham, who holds a degree in applied science from the University of Queensland in Australia. The museum is, in effect, an alternative natural history museum, complete with large-scale animatronic dinosaurs and living animals, that uses the visual language of the natural history museum to debunk the teachings of natural history. I think of it as a visual essay attempting to reconcile biblical literalism with science. A tricky thing, and, in my opinion, a real failure.

Here is how the the museum website describes the museum:
The Creation Museum presents a 'walk through history.' Designed by a former Universal Studios exhibit director, this state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life. A fully engaging, sensory experience for guests. Murals and realistic scenery, computer-generated visual effects, over fifty exotic animals, life-sized people and dinosaur animatronics, and a special-effects theater complete with misty sea breezes and rumbling seats. These are just some of the impressive exhibits that everyone in your family will enjoy.

Here is how one of my favorite authors Stephen Asma describes it, in his recent article "Trapped in the Creation Museum:"
In many ways, it's not quite accurate to call this center a museum at all. It contains almost no factual information, unless you count speculations on how Noah kept dinosaurs on the ark as information. It offers no new observations about nature, unless inferring the existence of a Designer can be called observational. And, unlike most nature museums, it has no research component. But perhaps the main problem with the museum is that it implicitly endorses the terms of debate set up by creationists--that it is God and goodness vs. Darwin and evil.

But see for yourself! If you have the opportunity, I very highly recommend you visit the museum in person--It really must be seen to be believed. If you'd like to pay a a virtual visit, I have documented much of the signage and most of the exhibits on my Flickr page. For more information, check out Asma's article in its entirety.

11 comments:

illusoryconfections said...

As a little kiddo I was raised watching Ken Ham videos, and a few of my family members have been involved in the development of similar creation science museums. Oh, the shame! Those poor creation science folks try so hard...

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanne, do you know of the Tower of Eben-Ezer, built by Robert Garcet? It might be worth a visit...
The tower contains a museum. Garcet extends the history of the human race back by about 70 million years, he has collected many lumpy flints which he says are sculptures. He has self published books on this subject. "These flints were made at the beginning of the Tertiary or the end of the Mesozoic by men who understood the art of softening flint."
"It is obvious that my discovery arouses nothing but sarcasm or jealousy on the part of official scientists"
Paul Rumsey.

Camilla said...

Wow! Just looked at all your photos on flickr- that's a pretty swish museum. Which kind of terrifies me.

Cobwebs said...

John Scalzi did an amusing essay and captioned Flickr set about his visit to the museum a while back:

http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=121

Anonymous said...

What the Creation Museum is doing is 'dumming down' the children who so innocently look to the adults for truth. By telling children dinosaurs were on the Ark approximately 6000 years ago when the world rebuilt after the flood. And the age of the planet is approximately 8000 years old negates and insults not only the children's intellect but the body of investigative science which have natural history: palentology proof the dinosaurs became extinct 68 million years ago. What the adults are doing at this so called museum is (1) force the young mind to brainwashing of facts never questioned but retold with authority. (2)A museum by definition houses artifacts or authentic relics depicting, by association of displayed items, of reliable representation to viewers. (3)A museum that intentionally ignores historical, geographical, undisputed bodies of scientific data to mislead or polarize young minds to avoid the chance to discover their own truth...is a disgrace and shameful display of naivite or outrageous ignorance. The USA has a VP running for the 2nd hightest office in the land, and she still believes the dinosaurs walked the earth 6000 years ago. It would be cute if she was 5 or 6 years old, but Sarah Palin may become President if McCain should become unable. Do you really want an American President so unprepared, and uneducated in world history, natural sciences, enviromental and evolutionary progress of the planet over 4.5 billion years. Or not know the Cretaceous (K-T) Period saw the end of the dinosaurs 38 million years ago. Maybe in Alaska the world stage has her in the wings, but in Washington she has not informed herself with bascic knowledge to help her communicate at the level a political arena demands.

Mark said...

I haven't been to the creation museum yet, but I'm looking forward to visiting it soon. I've studied various views of natural history, and I'm glad to say that I've chosen to believe what the Bible teaches regarding the creation of the earth and the events of history. This belief doesn't cause me to have a closed mind, but it does mean that I realize that the human mind is limited and our observations in regard to the events of natural history are also limited. I believe that there is a God whose knowledge and abilities are far beyond our comprehension.
And as far as children being brainwashed...I'm far more concerned about children being brainwashed by TV shows and presentations that make "Millions of years ago..." and "Billions of years ago..." statements without even acknowledging that their statements are theoretical!

Anonymous said...

Along every path is a view, and at every end of a road is a destiny. In my life I have found this path of providence, a life of beauty, purpose, and fair destiny. All of creation is full of the wonder of my maker who is above all of it. Those who have yet to see the subtle message from above,-"I LOVE YOU" cannot know the excitement it brings to us mortals, and the hope and peace it fills us with at every turn. It starts with meeting a person, called Emmanuel, who said,- "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,.." If you discover like me, that TIME dosent have a CHANCE, maybe you will find GOD who took the time to give us a chance!

Anonymous said...

If we should meet and you forget me you have lost nothing...
if you meet Jesus and forget him
you have lost everything.

Anonymous said...

why do some evolutionists have to get hateful? i dont think any one who believes in evolution is brainwashed or has the intell of a 5 year old. I believe God created all life, and to all people who believe we came from sludge or the like-God still loves you even if you dont want to acknowledge him. God Bless You All!

Anonymous said...

The Creation Museum serves to present the truth of history and not a perverted view that is present in the public schools. Evolution is nothing else than tax money funding a false religion. True science supports a Creator more than evolution theory.

Anonymous said...

Ideology aside, 28 BUCKS? Are you kidding me? I don't pay that much to see museum exhibits that I actually like!