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The Creation Museum is a museum that presents an account of the origins of the universe, life, mankind, and man's early history according to a literal reading of the Book of Genesis. This museum has been heavily criticized by the scientific and academic communities as promoting "fallacy over fact" and attempting to advance the tenets of a particular religion while rejecting mainstream scientific knowledge. Its exhibits reject universal common descent, along with most other central tenets of evolution, and assert that the Earth and all of its life forms were created 6000 years ago over a six-day period. In contrast to the overwhelming scientific consensus, exhibits promote young Earth creationist claims, including the idea that humans and dinosaurs once coexisted, and that dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark. The museum exhibits are at odds with the determination of the scientific community that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, and that the dinosaurs became extinct 65.5 million years before human beings arose. The museum has generated criticism by the scientific community, several groups of educators, Christian groups opposed to young Earth creationism, and in the general press.

The museum, which is said to have cost $27 million, is privately-funded through donations to the apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis and opened its doors to the public on May 28, 2007. Based on projections, the museum anticipated 250,000 paying visitors in its first year of operation. According to AiG, within its first two months attendance surpassed 100,000 visitors by July 21, 2007 and 200,000 visitors on September 20, 2007. They claim that visitor attendance also exceeded first year expectations only 5 months and 5 days after opening, with a total of 250,000 visitors on November 2, 2007, and the half-million visitor mark was reached just under 9 months later.


The exterior of Answers in Genesis' Creation Museum in 2007.
The museum was originally marketed as the Creation Museum and Family Discovery Center. It opened in late Spring of 2007 as the "Creation Museum." The museum is located north-northeast of Petersburg, Kentuckymarker, roughly a dozen miles from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airportmarker on of land; the Answers in Genesis main offices are attached to the museum. The facility's stated mission is to "exalt Jesus Christ as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer," to "equip Christians to better evangelize the lost," and to "challenge visitors to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord."

According to the founder of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham, "One of the main reasons we moved there was because we are within one hour's flight of 69 percent of America's population." Ham also explains how the idea of the museum originated: "Australia's not really the place to build such a facility if you're going to reach the world. Really, America is." Previously Ham worked for the Institute for Creation Research, which runs a creationist museum in Santee, California, with free admission.

A view of the museum's exterior grounds
The museum's official groundbreaking ceremony was March 17, 2001, but plans for the museum had been in the works since the mid-1990s. A significant reason for the time span between planning and execution related to zoning battles which saw the museum's original location turned down. The zoning issues continued to its present location, with the final legal victory for Answers in Genesis becoming official in March 2000.

For most of its time in construction, the cost of building the museum was set at $25 million. However, in response to studies and media reports that suggested an even larger number of visitors estimated annually than previously expected, the museum's cost increased to $27 million as expansion to the front of the building, the parking lot, and the cafe were incorporated. Mark Looy, Chief Communications Officer for Answers in Genesis, said in the article that around 75% of the contributions averaged around $100 per gift.

One anonymous Cincinnati, Ohiomarker family donated $1 million to the cause. Two other families also gave donations in excess of $1 million.The museum opened to the public on May 28, 2007, though about 5000 charter members received advance tours in the days before that. The success in raising donations for the museum was contrasted with the failure of the American Museum of Natural Historymarker to find corporate sponsorship for their exhibit on the life of Charles Darwin. According to the Daily Telegraph, "American companies are anxious not to take sides in the heated debate between scientists and fundamentalist Christians over the theory of evolution."

Among those getting an early preview was local congressman Geoff Davis and his family, who are supporters of the project. Ken Ham called the grand opening "not just a historic event in America, but a historic event in Christendom." In addition to elected officials at the county and state levels and representatives from the state and federal governments, over 130 credentialed reporters covered the ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 26.

Displays and exhibits

Kurt Wise was hired as scientific consultant for the project and played a major role in designing the exhibits, which are intended to be state-of-the-art, and include 52 professionally-made videos. In addition to large movie screens showing a young-Earth history of the world, the museum also features a 78-seat planetarium depicting creationist cosmologies and a 200-seat special-effects theater with seats that vibrate and jets that can spray the audience with mist. Many of the displays were designed by Patrick Marsh, who had formerly worked for Universal Studios designing attractions such as Jawsmarker and King Kong before becoming a born-again Christian and young Earth creationist.

Among its exhibits, the museum features life-size dinosaur models, over 80 of them animatronic (animated and motion-sensitive). Model dinosaurs are depicted in the Garden of Eden, many of them side-by-side with human figures. In one exhibit, a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus are shown aboard a scale model of Noah's Ark.

A major portion of the displays relates to the Great Flood as described in Genesis 6-9. The message is that the world prior to the flood was significantly and fundamentally different from the world we know today. The Flood is presented as literally real, a global catastrophe which fundamentally altered the landscape of the Earth, and was the event that produced most of the geologic features (fossils, sedimentary strata, canyons, continents) we observe today.

The museum is also directly critical of evolutionary theory that links dinosaurs with the origins of birds. The second room of the creation museum for example displays a model prehistoric raptor, stating that the species was featherless and had no connection to birds; this is a reference to Genesis 1, which states that birds were created before the advent of land animals. Biologists and paleontologists, however, have long held the opposite (that today's birds are descended from certain dinosaurs) and point out that the recent discovery of a Velociraptor forearm bearing quill knobs, distinct structural parts of bones into which feathers are anchored, provides further evidence that the species did indeed have feathers.

Other rooms on the tour depict Old Testament prophets, Martin Luther stressing the importance of defending the faith at its point of attack, and a video presentation on the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Some of the rooms on the tour show modern times and espouse the view that families and society are hurt by a world view which is not Biblically based. In one video, a male teenager is shown sitting at a computer looking at internet pornography and a female teenager speaks with Planned Parenthood about having an abortion; both acts are portrayed as the result of a world view which is not Biblically based. The belief that the Earth is "millions of years" old also derives from a non-Biblical starting point. The climax of the tour is the life of Jesus Christ, with a three screen depiction of the crucifixion. The exhibits have been called "painstakingly detailed" and even critics have agreed that "Answers in Genesis has gone to great lengths to make their new museum a place that has quality displays". The museum also includes a restaurant, outdoor walking trails, and a medieval-themed gift shop.

In 2009, the Creation Museum added a one room display devoted to Charles Darwin. The display "argues that natural selection — Darwin's explanation for how species develop new traits over time — can coexist with the creationist assertion that all living things were created by God just a few thousand years ago."


The creation museum employs about 160 people with another 140 working at the attached Answers in Genesis headquarters. To help the museum's mission to evangelize, a chaplain is on staff for visitors in need of spiritual guidance. Each permanent employee must sign a statement of faith indicating that he or she believes in young Earth creationism and the other teachings of Answers in Genesis. These include "Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation", "the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman", "the great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event" and "no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record." When applying for work a written statement of one's beliefs is required along with résumé and references.

Controversy and criticism

The Creation Museum has been the subject of controversy ever since it was proposed, because the exhibits are based on a young Earth creationist view of the origins of the universe and life. Local opposition caused the construction approval process to take several years. During construction Professor Lord Robert Winston visited the site of the museum during the filming of his documentary "The Story of God" and remarked,

Educators criticizing the museum include the National Center for Science Education. The NCSE collected over 800 signatures from scientists in the three states closest to the museum (Kentuckymarker, Indianamarker, and Ohiomarker) on the following statement:

NCSE director Eugenie Scott characterized the Creation Museum as "the Creationist Disneylandmarker." The Guardian called the facility "quite possibly ... one of the weirdest museums in the world."Physicist Lawrence Krauss has called on media, educators, and government officials to shun the museum and says that its view is based on falsehoods. Krauss said that the facility is "as much a disservice to religion as it is to science."
The introduction to a Good Morning America report on the museum shown Friday, May 25, stated that according to an ABC news poll, 60% of Americans believe that "God created the world in six days." The report stated that the Creation Museum was aimed at convincing visitors that evolution is wrong, and that the Biblical story of life on earth from Adam and Eve to Noah's ark is scientifically verifiable. In a March 2007 Newsweek poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, 48% of respondents agreed with the statement "God created humans pretty much in the present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so."

The museum has also been criticized by Christians who are not young Earth creationists. Notable among them is geologist Greg Neyman of Answers in Creation, an old earth creationism ministry. Neyman released a press kit dealing with the museum's grand opening in which he said:

Neyman adds that "today, the church is comprised of many individuals who accept an old Earth" and "is already moving away from young Earth creationism." The Rev. Mendle Adams, pastor of St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohiomarker, joined others, both secularists and Christians, at protests at the museum's opening. He said "my brothers and sisters in the faith who embrace [the creationist] understanding call into question the whole Christian concept" and "make us a laughing stock." Roman Catholic theologian John Haught sees little merit in the museum, saying it will cause an "impoverishment" of religion. He concluded "It's hard for me to come up with a single reason why we should be doing this. ... It's theologically problematic to me, as well as scientifically problematic." Michael Patrick Leahy, editor of the magazine Christian Faith and Reason, says that by replacing the scientific method with biblical literalism, the museum undermines the credibility of all Christians and makes it easy to represent Christians as irrational.

Lisa Park, a professor of paleontology at University of Akronmarker who is also an Elder in the Presbyterian Church was particularly disturbed by the museums depiction that war, famine and natural disasters are the result of a belief in evolution. She stated:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director for American Atheists, organized a “Rally for Reason” outside the gates of the Creation Museum its opening day, May 28, 2007. Kagin, a long time activist against creationism, was joined in this effort by the organization known as the "Campaign to Defend the Constitution" and many other groups and individuals according to the organizer's website[107461]. Depending on the media source, it was reported that anywhere from 50 to 200 people attended the rally. The demonstrators displayed protest signs, an airplane trailing a banner flew overhead and speeches were made. As reported by Deb Silverman of WCPOmarker, "There was a long wait to be one of the first inside the Creation Museum but you couldn't get inside the $27 million building created by the group called 'Answers in Genesis Creation' [sic] without passing by a long line of protesters."

In July 2007, the UC Davismarker science radio show This Week in Science published a website parodying the Creation Museum. Based on Christian belief in literal biblical truth, the Unicorn Museum presents a case for Christian belief in unicorns. While obviously intended to be humorous, the idea is nonetheless supported by the King James Version of the Bible, mentioning the fantasy beasts a total of nine times, though recent scholarship notes that this is not the most accurate rendering.

In August 2007, the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau was criticized by scientists for describing the Creation Museum as a "'walk through history' museum" that "will counter evolutionary natural history museums that turn countless minds against Christ and Scripture". Daniel Phelps, the president of Kentucky Paleontological Society said that as a tax-supported institution, the use of the language was particularly problematic since many religious people accept evolution. The Bureau initially defended its use of the language saying that they used whatever language was supplied by each attraction, but then decided to change the description.

On his visit to the museum, Phelps noted that several of the dinosaur reconstructions were poorly reconstructed or outdated in depiction. A Tyrannosaurus outside the museum grounds for example, is shown standing in an outdated tail dragging "tripod" stance, an Iguanodon is shown bearing a skin texture completely different from what is known from fossilised skin impressions of the species and a Utahraptor is shown to be without feathers, despite recent discoveries of the opposite, as well as sporting anatomically incorrect forearms. Phelps also leveled criticism at the reconstructions of Mesozoic flora, one example being a cycad plant reconstructed as little more than a giant pineapple. The museum has also been accused of using 19th century human evolution theories, since refuted, to promote the idea that different human races came from Noah's descendants dispersing after the Confusion of Tongues at the Tower of Babel.

In 2007 Bill Maher "evaded" Creation Museum security and toured the location and interviewed Ken Ham. The footage appeared in the October 2008 film Religulous. In a press release by AiG critical of the movie, it called Maher "dishonest" in gaining access to the Creation Museum and Ken Ham.

In August 2009, more than 300 people part of the Secular Student Alliance took a tour of the venue, along with PZ Myers, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morrismarker. Scientists in the group, such as chemist William Watkin, commented about how scientifically wrong the displays are. Myers posted an account of the tour on his blog, including condemning the venue for "promoting the Hamite theory of racial origins, that ugly idea that all races stemmed from the children of Noah, and that black people in particular were the cursed offspring of Ham." This led to post exchanges between Ken Ham and Myers.


Ken Ham promoted the museum in the hope that people from all over the United States and the world would visit the museum. Groups from churches and Christian schools are also anticipated. During the week the museum opened Answers in Genesis began running a 30-second television commercial promoting the museum in six metropolitan areas, Cincinnatimarker, Indianapolismarker, Columbusmarker, Daytonmarker, Lexingtonmarker, and Louisvillemarker.

Ham has said the museum is not attempting to attract groups from public schools, saying "I suspect by intimidation and threats of lawsuits, I doubt whether public school students, as an official tour, would come." Steve Rissing, a biologist and board member of Ohio Citizens for Science, said that a lawsuit over separation of church and state would be likely if public schools send students to the museum using public tax money.

In 2008 the Louisville Courier-Journal reported, "Cincinnati Zoomarker and the Creation Museum launched a joint promotional deal last week to draw attention to their holiday attractions." But following an outcry of criticism, the zoo ended the relationship after two days.

See also


  1. Edward Rothstein, " Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs", New York Times, May 24, 2007.
  2. Museum Claims Earth is 6,000 Years Old AP Press release, May 23, 2005
  3. Mike Rutledge. " Creation leader thanks critics", The Cincinnati Enquirer, May 26, 2007; Full article available here.
  4. Doug Huntington, " Protests Planned for Grand Opening of Creation Museum", The Christian Post, April 27, 2007.
  5. Greg Neyman, " Creation Museum Media Mania," Answers in Creation, March 30, 2007.
  6. " Creation Museum Set To Open Next Week", Denver's KMGH-TV, May 25, 2007.
  7. Lovan, Dylan T. (July. 31, 2006) High-tech museum brings creationism to life: Biblical account is taken as scientific gospel at $25 million Creation Museum
  8. 10 most-asked questions about the future Creation Museum, Answers in Genesis website, Accessed May 26, 2007.
  9. Richard Fausset, " A rather unusual species of museum," Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2007.
  10. Another milestone at the Creation Museum, Ken Ham's Blog, Answers in Genesis website, September 21, 2007.
  11. Creation Museum hits 250K visitors, The Enquirer, Cincinnati, OH, November 3, 2007.
  12. Creation Museum Gets 500,000th Visitor On Thursday, Bill Price, WCPO/ABC, Cincinnati, Ohio, Aug 1st, 2008.
  13. See, e.g., The new and improved Creation Museum Web site!, Answers in Genesis website, May 7, 2001.
  14. " Museum merges God, science",, The Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio, copyright Associated Press, May 26, 2007.
  15. Creation Museum: about us, Creation Museum official website, Accessed June 5, 2007.
  16. Paul Sheehan, " Onward the new Christian soldier", The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, Jan. 17, 2005.
  17. Kim Landers, " Museum promotes creationism", AM, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, May 29, 2007.
  18. " A groundbreaking event in the fight for Biblical authority!", Answers in Genesis official website, Accessed May 26, 2007.
  19. Mark Looy, " Creation Museum going on the drawing boards!", Answers in Genesis official website, Accessed May 26, 2007.
  20. Creation Museum on track: $27M raised to finish center by May 28 opening, execs say, Ryan Clark, The Cincinnati Enquirer, April 11, 2007.
  21. " $1 million donation to Creation Museum!". January 15, 2001.
  22. Andy Mead. " Creation museum to draw believers, critics". May 25, 2007.
  23. Nicholas Wapshott. " The Darwin exhibition frightening off corporate sponsors." Daily Telegraph." November 19, 2005.
  24. " Dinosaurs, humans coexist in creationist museum". Jan. 15, 2007.
  25. Ken Ham. " Creation Museum officially opens". May 26, 2007.
  26. Timothy H. Heaton. " A Visit to the New Creation 'Museum'." Reports of the National Center for Science Education. 27 (1-2): 21-24.
  27. " So what's with all the dinosaurs?". The Guardian. Nov. 13, 2006
  28. If dinosaurs could talk, Michael Matthews, Answers in Genesis, Accessed May 26, 2007.
  29. Jim DeBrosse. " Creationist display creating controversy". Dayton Daily News. May 26, 2007.
  30. Society Of Vertebrate Paleontology Speaks Out On Creation Museum, Science Daily (July 7, 2007)
  31. Velociraptor Had Feathers, Science Daily (September 20, 2007)
  32. Tom Baldwin. " Creationist museum brings dinosaurs on board Noah’s Ark". Times Online. May 28, 2007.
  33. " Museum Unites Adam, Eve, Dinos". ABC News. May 25, 2007.
  34. Gordy Slack. " Inside the Creation Museum". May 31, 2007.
  35. Greg Neyman. " More Museum Talk from Answers in Genesis". April 17, 2007.
  36. Summary of the AiG Statement of Faith. Accessed May 28, 2007.
  37. Ryan Clark. " Creation Museum touches lives." The (Cincinnati) Enquirer. April 15, 2007
  38. Jobs at Answers in Genesis. Accessed May 28, 2007.
  39. Dylan T. Lovan. " Educators Criticize Creation Museum." May 20, 2007.
  40. Peter Slevin. " A monument to creation." May 27, 2007.
  41. Lawrence Krauss. " The creationist museum of misinformation". May 23, 2007.
  42. " Misinformation museum". Columbus Dispatch. May 27, 2007.
  43. Creation Museum Opens, American Broadcasting Company News, May 25, 2007.
  44. Newsweek Poll. Accessed May 27, 2007.
  45. Adelle M. Banks. " New Museum Says Creation, Science Go Hand-in-Hand". Accessed June 1, 2007.
  46. The Trouble with Fred and Wilma: Why the Creation Museum is Bad for Christians, Michael Patrick Leahy, Christian Faith and Reason, May 24, 2007.
  47. Barbara Bradley Hagerty. " Creation Museum Pits the Bible Against Evolution". NPR, May 28, 2007.
  48. Rally for Reason website
  49. New Museum Draws Hundreds With Different Views On Creationism, Deb Silverman, WCPO, May 28, 2007.
  50. How Do You Know The Bible Is True?, Clarifying Christianity website, retrieved August 8, 2007.
  51. The Unicorn Museum website, retrieved August 8, 2007.
  52. Unicorns and the KJV, Rick Norris, November 8, 1998, retrieved August 8, 2007.
  53. Hartley, John E. "The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Job" Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988. p.507.
  54. Doug Huntington. " Creation Museum Founder Thanks Protesters, Critics". Christian Post. May 29, 2007.
  55. " Commercials Hit the Airwaves". May 30, 2007.
  56. "Zoo pulls Creation Museum promotion," Louisville Courier-Journal, Dec 1, 2008

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