Having received an invitation from Mark Looy, Co-founder and Chief Communications officer of the Creation Museum, we ventured into Northern Kentucky to see what it was all about. The first thing that surprised me as I pulled into the parking lot was the uniformed armed guards that had assembled around the entrance. This was reinforced when I stepped inside and observed an armed dog patrol walking through the lobby. From the uniforms, it appeared that there were two distinct organizations of protectors, all armed, those in campaign hats and sharp kaki pants and those in black t-shirts with the word SECURITY on the back. Once we passed the lobby and main hall the guards disappeared. It was the last we saw of them until we returned to the entrance. Another noteworthy observation was that you were rarely without a warm, friendly, young and often pretty attendant standing conspicuously in the room dressed in a yellow shirt and a, for lack of other description ,tan fishing vest minus the hook patch.
We found Mark busy at work, but he took a few minutes out of his schedule to welcome us and tell us something about the building and grounds, as well as a photo op. He explained that to see everything that there was at the museum will take a good 7 hours. The average time spent by a tourist being around 4 1/2 hours. The final location of the museum was selected near the Cincinnati area because it is believed that two-thirds of the population of the U.S. is within 600 miles. The museum and park now take up about 78 acres. Should this be found to be insufficient to display all that they believe necessary to tell the story, more will be acquired. The Museum is an intricate part of a larger approach which includes radio broadcasts, magazine and international lectures and presentations, as well as teaching seminars.
It was soon time for Mark to return to his other duties and so we penetrated into the museum on our own. Having spent 27 million dollars to make the presentation, there was obviously a lot of razzle-dazzle. The theme of the museum is "Genesis". Specifically, "Young Earth Creationism" or the belief that the Universe, made up of the Cosmos, Earth, man and the Garden of Eden was created by a direct act of God over 6, 24 hour days, some 6 to 10 thousand years ago. All that is known about history is attempted to be squeezed into that time frame. There are notable description of other parts of the Bible, such as "Noah" and the "Great Flood" and in one film presentation, a short story of Christ. Although there are plenty of placards, the main message was presented in a very sophisticated use of wide screen TV, many of which were turned on end with videos running correctly to the eye. These are often framed in windows and in one case a broken glass to simulate, most effectively, the visitor's peek into the private life of some lost soul in crisis, searching for answers. None are readily supplied. There are several large rooms with life size manikins, and creatures both current and ancient. The room explaining Adam and Eve included Dinosaurs as part of the garden of Eden. This is one of the constant themes throughout the museum. Dinosaurs roamed the earth alongside man. The manikins talk and move, and the dinosaurs move and roar. On the day we were there, I marveled at the large number of small children taking in the story and the sights. It seemed to me that the ratio of adults to kids was close to 50%. At times it was difficult to move through the sea of small bodies darting here and there.
For those with more time, there were several theater presentations. All that we attended were under 1/2 an hour. The most effective by far was the special effects theater presentation called "Men in White". The theaters were small and the shows are presented on a large 3 panel screen in the round. "Men in White" opens to a scene with a young female animated manikin, camping in what appears to be Monument valley while she contemplates the creation. Suddenly two angels pop up on screen and go through their part with zest, as they demonstrate that God created the Universe and offer proof there of. Lighting cracks, thunder booms and the seats shake, The flood comes and water sprays out onto the theater goers. Kids scream, babies cry and all have a good time. Mark had been right. Not only was it the main theme of the Museum, it was by far the most entertaining. From here we returned to the museum proper and continued where we left off. Soon we arrived at the other main room and found out the reason there are no dinosaurs left on Earth. Noah and the great flood, appeared on the time line chart a little over 2000 Years ago. Before that dinosaurs, which originally were all herbivores, lived quietly among man. The story is told in near full size excluding the ark which is approximately 1% of the actual size. The talking manikins interact with each other as they discuss the problems of building the ark, one wall of which appears in actual size. We wandered along the catwalk and scaffolding, examining each aspect of the construction and we read the biblical description of its design. The ark was to be 300 cubits in length. As a cubit was described as the length from a man's middle finger to his elbow the length could change slightly with each person doing the measuring. A broad guess would be some 500 feet in length. We also stopped by the film presentation "The Last Adam on Earth" for a short history on Christ, and a very relaxing showing at the planetarium which showed the vastness of the cosmos. For those planning on catching every word spoken in the planetarium, attending earlier in the visit might be prudent as it is dark, the music is soft, the cushy seats go back almost to horizontal and sleep tends to steal in on little cat feet.
As we passed back through the main hall, I stopped for a few minutes to listen to a paleontological docent in a white lab coat explain why, scientifically speaking, it was imposable for man to have derived from apes.
For those with any energy left, there is still the 6000 some odd plants located in and around the pond on the extensive grounds. There were swinging bridges which were just right for jumping on as old folks try to cross. Even a petting zoo had fascinating creatures like camels and yes a live "zeedonk" and a "zorse", How appropriate in a creation museum. The overall message of the museum is clear and easily understood. Its acceptability, I am sure, will vary according to one's individual belief. In any case, it certainly is not boring.
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