Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Creation Museum

I was able to attend and go through the Creation Museum in Kentucky near the Ohio border on this vacation. I was both extremely pleased and very disappointed. Let me explain.
I was not expecting the amazing quality of everything done in the Creation Museum. They make wonderful use of multimedia and it really is a museum for the 21st century. They have an expansive location, a planetarium, a movie room, and several nice places to eat. Even walking through the museum you see many flatscreen TVs and then every now and then you get a well done four minute video in a video hall to break up the walking. It is very nice. As far as production quality it is second to none. No one can really complain about the money put into the museum or think that this is some sort of second class rip off of a real museum. I mean in the movie theater the chair’s squirted water at me! Come on, that is high tech at least.
However, I was disappointed in the experience overall. I did not think that the Creation Museum knew the audience it wished to attract. The movie I watched in the movie room (Men in White I believe it was called) was geared toward middle school kids who attend public school. It was primarily meant to help them refute evolution and find meaning in the universe. It was chock full of facts, but since it is a movie it was hardly documented. The evangelistic appeal was minimal, and the science fit into an entertaining film for the age group. Next, I went to the planetarium. Here was a high quality display of astronomy. I learned a lot and it was heavy on the science. In fact, I would go as far to say that this was geared mainly for adults. My kids liked the stars, but the science was way over their heads. It was designed to impress upon you the grandeur of the universe and it does well. Then after lunch, I went through the museum part itself. Now they do not have as many exhibits of actual artifacts as a normal museum because it is new and that is expensive. They have few dinosaur bones and eggs, but most of the museum is multimedia and robotic displays. That is good. However, the “museum” is actually a walk through biblical history and the culture designed to get you to sign a sinner’s prayer card at the end of the tour. It contains a movie that depicts Christ visibly for those of you concerned about the second commandment. A few of the rooms were nice and contained displays about actual ‘creation science’ but most of it is walking through a modern day slum so we can see the result of our sin or walking through a room where robotic Noah talks to his sons who build the ark as robotic sinners mock him. Sure that room has one or two nice things to read about the ark, but really, it is pointless. The design of the actual ‘museum’ is purely an attempt to get you to convert to Christianity.
Thus, the three major parts of the museum do not fit together. The actual museum is so ‘repent and believe’ oriented that the people who are looking for actual science that is found in the planetarium will be disappointed and it is religious enough to guarantee that no public schools will be taking field trips to this museum making the movie room pointless.
It also left out a lot of things that I think it should have focused on. There is a second movie room about Dragons and dragon lore around the world as a proof of dinosaurs alive after the flood. This 10 minute movie deserved more time and a room in the museum proper.
One more good thing to say is that the gift shop is good. It contains not only many books about science from a creationist perspective, but it contains other good books as well. I did see at least a few apologetic books, mostly Josh McDowell kind of stuff, but Greg Bashen’s presuppositional book is in there. They have a lot of stuff by and about Bishop Ussher including a biography that went well beyond his creation work.
All in all, I was disappointed by the museum. I felt it could have set itself up as a real alternative kind of museum, but instead it comes off as a ‘repent and believe’ is the only ‘science’ Christians have. A tad upsetting.