The Creation Museum’s Trying to Increase Attendance by Resorting to Gimmicks

The Creation Museum recently added zip line courses to its property and an insect exhibit inside the building. Both of those things, on the surface, seem to have little to do with Creationism. So… what’s up with that?

A glimpse inside the Creation Museum’s hallway of horrors. No joke. This is a real exhibit there.

The Associated Press’ Dylan Lovan writes about how it’s all about increasing attendance:

Museum co-founder Ken Ham said he knew when it opened to big crowds in 2007 that new features would need to be added from time to time. Total attendance since the opening is approaching 1.9 million, he said.

Ham said the museum is welcoming of people seeking fun without a creationism lesson.

“That’s what we wanted to see, because it will bring in a broader range of people in here and provide something for the community as well — they don’t have to go to the Creation Museum, they can just come for the zip lines,” Ham said.

I appreciate that Lovan added my own perspective to his piece:

“The layout at the Creation Museum really is beautiful,” said Mehta, who has written about the museum on his “Friendly Atheist” blog. “However, the quality of information is worthless, which makes the ‘museum’ nothing more than an expensive way to confuse and indoctrinate children.

Cue Ken Ham complaining about the quotation marks around the word “museum” in 5… 4… 3…

There wasn’t enough space for elaboration in the article, but I explained to Lovan that my main objection to the Creation Museum was that it tried to pass itself off as a “science museum” when it was really anything but.

Science, when done correctly, begins with the evidence, and forms conclusions based on them. The Creation Museum staff begins with their conclusion (that the Book of Genesis must be literally true) and warps science in order to make it fit. They’re trying to push a square peg into a round hole and that’s not how good science works. That’s not even how bad science works. It’s unfair to science to be in the same sentence with the word Creation.

Because of their conclusion-first method, they’ve ignored all the evidence that shows our world is not merely thousands of years old but billions, that the Great Flood could never have happened as shown in the Bible, and that dinosaurs and humans could not have lived at the same time. When your premise is false, the conclusions are irrelevant. They’re making a mockery of how science works and — the more pressing concern — misleading children in the process. Who knows how many of these kids could have become great scientists, if only they were given more accurate materials from which to learn?

There is reason to be optimistic, though. The zip lines, especially, make me think that Ham is desperate to bring in people to stop the dropping attendance numbers. Those of us who view the “museum” as a freak show have pretty much already seen it and those who believe in Creationism have no reason to come back.

Unlike real museums, where exhibits change and reflect the best of modern science, the Creation Museum — like Creation itself — is stagnant. The Biblical story doesn’t change, so all you can do is modify the presentation of it. It’s not like Ken Ham can feature exhibits with the latest “Creation research,” because that research doesn’t exist.

Instead of offering more substance, he’s resorting to gimmicks like zip lines and the (unfinished) Noah’s Ark replica… which really tells you all you need to know about what they bring to the table in terms of science.

***Update***: Ham has responded to the piece… and me:

By the way, this AP article quotes an opponent of the museum who calls himself the “Friendly Atheist.” Well, he is not that friendly at all if you read some of his blog posts (you’ll have to watch out for some nasty language). He says false things like we have not added exhibits over the past five years and the museum is supposedly failing because of low attendance.

1) I never said they haven’t added exhibits. Of course they have, and they all show the Creation myth in different way. That’s a straight-up lie from Ham.

2) Considering a museum’s success is in large part judged by how many people visit it, I’d say falling attendance is a fair measure of how the Creation Museum is doing.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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