opening soon: the world’s most dangerous museum

“A fully engaging, sensory experience for guests. Murals and realistic scenery, computer-generated visual effects, over fifty exotic animals, life-sized people and dinosaur animatronics, and a special-effects theater complete with misty sea breezes and rumbling seats.”

Sounds good? Yeah. I thought so, too. Until you look at the topic matter or the URL:

Apparently $27 million has been spent on this museum which will have exhibits showing humans sharing space with dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark. The caption under the lead image on the where I first read about this reads: “The museum has permanent staffers sign a statement of faith that says they believe that dinosaurs and man once co-existed.”…

The interesting (read: scary) thing about this is that while freedom of speech of course allows anyone to hold these views, the fact that they are framing these beliefs within a museum context lends some kind of credibility – which of course anyone with a sane head on their shoulders knows is false.

There are probably some parallels with the discussions we’ve all had about museum authority and web2.0 but to be honest I just wanted to post about something off-topic because it pissed me off. I’ll flag it as irrelevant and then you can avoid future posts next time I rant 😉

6 thoughts on “opening soon: the world’s most dangerous museum”

  1. I think I’d rather it be the case that any crack-pot can open their own ‘museum’, whatever the content, than for the word ‘museum’ to be some kind of status reserved for only certain types of qualifying institution.

    It’s not that different from newspapers, after all, where you have papers with a reputation for accuracy and impartiality, and papers which are unapologetically polemical, even to the extent of having been published by a particular political party or other campaigning body.

    Ultimately, the best way to fight propaganda, of the dangerous and false kind (which the Creation Museum is both), is through counter-information and awareness campaigns, not through control over the means and form of communication.

  2. Totally agree re. freedom of the press, and also ultimately about not censoring the concept of “museum”.

    But I am still resistant. I guess this is because I have a fixed and quite romantic notion of what museums are for – which is, ultimately, about fact rather than “just” entertainment. Not that entertainment is bad, but the tag “museum” lends a legitimacy which “theme park” just doesn’t. These are places where “the truth” is explained.

    It will be interesting to see what research (if any) is ever done on the Creation Museum – will visitors already be believers? Will they change their views? Will skeptics visit or steer clear? Will people go there to be entertained or to learn? Or both?

    I don’t think the situation could *rationally* be any different but it still makes me uncomfortable that some people may leave the Creation Museum really believing that this stuff is fact.

  3. Mike said, “it still makes me uncomfortable that some people may leave the Creation Museum really believing that this stuff is fact.”

    Too late, Mike!

    A solid *half* of America already believes that the Biblical account of the world’s origin is “true” (whatever that means to them)! A scientific worldview, i.e., one based on conclusions drawn from observable and testable reality, has an extremely tenuous hold in this country. Many, many people do not believe that science offers them anything useful or fulfilling in their lives, whereas religion does, esp. fundamentalist religion, filled with absolutes, where moral decisions and even physical reality is free of all ambiguity.

    (As a mostly relevant aside, one sees this is politics nowadays too, where policies are formed based on dogma and ideal absolutes, rather than on testable, measurable ideas about real-world conditions. Moral absolutism trumps pragmatics.)

  4. TS, I know it to be true and it depresses me hugely that a country so full of good shit should at the same time be crammed to the rafters with fundamentalists – or, more to the point – with people who aren’t prepared to take a wider, more balanced view on issues as important as this.

    It’s interesting you should raise the politics question. It’s one I’ve struggled with and it’s particularly pertinent here in the UK where the “political divide” is no longer as wide as it once was. I’m mired in the “ideal absolute” myself – could I *ever* bring myself to vote Conservative? Absolutely not, ever. Is the tory party looking more left wing than Labour right now? Yes. Worrying.

    Anyway. Back to museums… 🙂


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