Road Trip to the Creation Museum
|Copyright © 2007 - All rights retained by author|
|Written and Photographed by: C. W. Booth|
Note: all the observations and opinions found below are my own and do not represent the official perspective of the museum operators. As my own opinions and observations from a given point in time, they may be out of date or factually inaccurate. If that is true, my apologies. Before acting on any of this information I strongly recommend you contact the museum and obtain updated and factually accurate statements from them.
Previous Experiences Color My Expectations
Natural history museums are typically, by definition, galleries of death. Dinosaur skeletons wired together, stuffed animals posed but lifeless, wrapped mummified corpses of deceased persons, and tableaus of ape men mesmerized by fire and stone tools. Some museums are more polished than others, but the end result is about the same, an exploration of death through the ages with no promise for the future except more of the same kind of death as is on display.
It is with that experience base that my wife, teenage son, and myself visited the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum (http://answersingenesis.org and http://www.creationmuseum.org), in Petersburg, Kentucky, near Cincinnati, Ohio. We were not prepared for what we encountered.
Perhaps the first impression one gets, and retains throughout, is that of professionalism. A first glance at the exterior of the building also yields an air of intrigue, as it invokes a feeling not unlike the atmosphere generated by the visitorís center from the original Jurassic Park movie.
Your second impression is likely to be, "This place is popular!" We visited on a Tuesday, arriving at noon, and saw impressive numbers of people still entering the museum. A staff member commented that the museum does not really get hopping until the weekend. Really? The ticket line moved surprisingly fast in spite of the fact that at least 50 people were ahead of us. They are obviously well staffed, the staff well trained, and, did I mention, professional.
A third impression a visitor gets is that the place is friendly. Not "Disney friendly" (which I equate to a veneer of friendliness imposed by Marketing), but the staff and volunteers are friendly. They are solicitous of your interests, needs, and impressions. Have a question, just ask a staffer, they really seem to want to help. In fact, consider this gem of customer service planning: Before one enters the ticket line, there is an information desk at which one can ask questions about the museum, tours, prices, and presentation times. When you enter the ticket line, you already know what you want to see, which is probably why the ticket line zooms along.
A Perspective of Hope
Finally, the place is not a gallery of death in the mold of other museums, but attempts to breathe life into its displays. Figurines are painstakingly crafted to appear alive, down to the detail on fingernails. There are certainly fossils (such as that of a perch which died and was buried while in the very act of eating a herring), dinosaur skeletons, and even a casting of the fragments of Lucy, but many of the dinosaur exhibits are animated, allowing one to imagine them as living, breathing, and eating creatures. And more importantly, the exhibits all offer hope for mankind. That seems to be the point of the museum, to offer hope.
Biblical Creation as a Theme
The theme of the museum is biblical creation. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, this is a wonderful place to be introduced. If you are familiar, this is a great place to see many of the concepts modeled, animated, and discussed in a cohesive context.
As a Christian museum, the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented often. In fact, the layout of the museum is predicated on helping visitors to understand that mankind was created in a sinless state, rebelled against God, was cursed, developed rampant wickedness as a high art, was entirely destroyed in the flood with but a remnant preserved via Noah, and the world rebuilt with Israel being the chosen nation by which Christ would come and bring salvation to all mankind.
There are several high quality (professional) audio visual presentations. Do attend these. The Last Adam presentation explores, in part, the execution of Jesus from a Roman soldierís point of view, as well as from Maryís perspective (this presentation was my sonís favorite exhibit in all the museum). Men in White pulls together the combined meaning of all the displays that one has seen in the museum. Men in White also offers some scientific examination of the same evidences used by evolution scientists but demonstrates how the facts favor a creation explanation rather than Darwinian. Men in White also offers some special entertainment that must not be shared until one has experienced the presentation in person.
My personal moment of surprise came when I passed by the tableau of Adam and Eve just after their rebellion. A realistic Eve is sobbing uncontrollably, not just because she has been caught in her first sin, but because her "pets" have been slaughtered by God to provide animal skin clothing, and the corpses of those slain innocent animals are in front of her, a direct consequence of her own sin. This was mankindís first experience with the reality of death. How shocking that must have been, and how emotionally heartbreaking to be aware of oneís own culpability in bringing about the curse to all living beings on the planet.
Perhaps the best presentation, from my perspective, was the last one. We attended the planetarium show. It was a visual treat and a mind bending exercise. This show attempted to demonstrate the scale of the universe as it relates to our little planet. After this experience, you will want to echo with the speaker, "What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?"(Psalms 8:4)
This is a ministry. Each staff member appears to consider their occupation an investment in the ministry. In the "Palm Hall" staff members are actually available to engage in conversation about what people have seen, and to answer questions about creation or salvation. No one is pushy. They just politely stand by to see if anyone has comments or questions.
Though the exhibits and presentations seem targeted toward teens (Men in White) as well as toward adults, there were a large number of small children in attendance. Most of the children seemed quite content to stare at the animatronic dinosaurs as their older companions read about the displays or watched the explanatory videos. When you visit, take a few minutes to let the kids run amok on the floating bridge and the suspension bridge on the nature trails behind the museum. Even my teenage son had to do each bridge twice.
Creation science is no joke. This museum takes the subject seriously, and the Bible is held to as a text describing historical fact. How can we do otherwise? After all, if God did not create, if man did not rebel, if Jesus was not born, if Christ did not die and resurrect in real history, then we have no faith or hope. Our future would be just as bleak as portrayed in the galleries of death at other museums. Salvation is only real if the Scriptures are historically accurate in the events that they explain. If those accounts are mere myth, then so is salvation.
Note: My personal and heartfelt thanks to staff member Tony Ramsek for his insights, hospitality, and very much more, and to Frank Zitzman, our knowledgeable volunteer tour guide. Frank, and his wife, Sue, run a ministry called Troyís Creation House, which provides housing on a donation-only basis to those who would like to travel to visit the Creation Museum: http://troyscreationhouse.com