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ARTS & BOOKS January 2007
The world’s first creationist museum to open next spring in Ohio.
by Mélanie SEPTIER

The Creation Museum, 10 miles from Cincinnati, Ohio, will open to the public next spring. It will be the first museum to present the biblical account of the creation of the world as “historically accurate”.

Designed as a natural history museum, the Creation Museum is a tourist attraction in which nothing, except a few turtles, is authentic. Its designer, Patrick Marsh, used to work at Universal Studios in Los Angeles and in Japan. In the Creation Museum, spectacular robotic dinosaurs chew the cud alongside human figures, in scenes that tell the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and after the fall from Grace. A 180-seat special-effects planetarium tells the story of creation ; a 40-foot tall (12-meter) section of Noah's Ark is also to be built.

The main difficulty encountered by creationists when they want to debate with evolutionists is to account for embarrassing discoveries like dinosaur fossils. Indeed, there is no mention of any dinosaur in the Bible. So, the designers of the Creation Museum have found a way of getting round the problem, by integrating dinosaurs in the biblical story of Creation. Thus, although science has proved through nuclear dating technology that dinosaurs appeared 200 million years ago, on a planet which is more than 4 billion years old, this museum manages to incorporate dinosaurs into a scenario in which the world is only 6,000 years old.* The curators use calculations made in the 17th century by Bishop Usher, who used the Bible as his only reference to count back to the dawn of time.

When asked about the remains of early humanoid creatures, Patrick Marsh said in an interview to the Guardian: « There are no such things. Humans are basically as you see them today. Those skeletons they've found, what's the word ? ... they could have been deformed, diseased or something. I've seen people like that running round the streets of New York. »**

The director of the Museum is an Australian evangelist named Ken Ham, who used to be a science teacher and is now a preacher who lectures all over the world. He has worked on the project for twenty years, and claims he wants « to convince people using observable science, » and insists that « Nothing contradicts the Bible's account of the origins. »** Mr Ham runs « Answers in Genesis », a prominent creationist organisation that owns the museum.****

The Creation Museum is expected to receive 300,000 visitors the first year, who will pay $10 admission each.*** It has cost $25 million, of which $21 million have been private donations. Two anonymous donors have given $1 million apiece. $12 million have been allocated to the building and land, and $13 million to interior designs and exhibits.****
It is located near one of the most populated areas of the US and not very far from Canada. Indeed, potentially 170 million Americans could drive there in one day, as well as millions of Canadians. This building reflects the increasing influence of fundamentalist Christianity in the US, where about 50 million people believe that the Bible tells the true story of the creation of the world.

Sources: * "High-tech museum brings creationism to life," Newsweek 31 July 2006.
** "Bones of contention," The Guardian 24 November 2006
*** "In the beginning ... Adam walked with dinosaurs," The Daily Telegraph 2 January 2005.
**** the official website of the Creation Museum

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