Photo Essay: Kentucky’s Creation Museum
A walk through an alternate history.
The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky that lets visitors experience a version of the Earth's history in which dinosaurs roamed in the Garden of Eden.
You may remember the Creation Museum as the location of the infamous debate between pop scientist Bill Nye and young Earth creationist Ken Ham back in February, 2014, in which Nye and Ham debated on whether or not Creation is a viable model of origins. I took a trip to Kentucky to see it for myself.
Opened in 2007 by the nonprofit fundamentalist ministry Answers in Genesis, the museum "counters evolutionary natural history museums that turn minds against Scripture—and Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe," according to the Answers in Genesis website.
"The acclaimed Creation Museum of Answers in Genesis is a one-of-a-kind, high-tech museum filled with animatronic displays (e.g., moving dinosaurs), striking videos, exceptional specimens (such as a $1 million allosaur dinosaur), a state-of-the-art planetarium, Special Effects Theater, and more, that is spread over 75,000 square feet," the site says.
Before disobeying God, there was no death, everything was peaceful, and all animals, including dinosaurs, were vegetarian
Creationism is the belief that the universe and everything in it was created by God. In most cases, Creationism is associated with the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis, which is also the case at the Creation Museum. This interpretation would mean that the universe is around 6,000 years old, in contrast to the NASA estimate of between 12 and 14 billion years.
While evolution sans creationism is taught in American schools, the debate around the origin of the universe is still very real for some. Creationists believe that all knowledge must start from God's word (the Bible) and you can't question God's knowledge. All human philosophies and religions that don't start from the Bible are considered arbitrary.
The first thing you see in the museum are dinosaur fossils. A plaque explains that dinosaurs and man coexisted when they were created 6,000 years ago. Then you walk through a section of exhibits that go into depth about microevolution, which is basically when there are small changes within a population, which is different from macroevolution that is about bigger changes, like humans evolving from the ape. That's followed by scenes depicting the Garden of Eden and the origins of humanity.
Finally, there is a section of the museum that focuses on how people who don't follow the Bible do bad things, such as smoking pot and making fun of church.
Here's what it looked like.
The Bible says that God created land animals and man on day six. According to creationism, this includes dinosaurs and Adam. Here's a Christian paleontologist who looks at the same evidence as other paleontologists, but believes that the dinosaurs are no older than 6,000 years old. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
Many creationists believe that creationism should be taught in schools as an alternative to evolution. This scene is where the museum starts to branch away from science and gets into biblical events and stories. This scene is the entrance into the more biblical side of the museum. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
Most young Earth creationists' beliefs stem from the Bible. This is the scene of Jesus' empty tomb. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
After talking about some of the science involved in creationism and then touching base on biblical events, the museum then takes a very sudden turn. This part of the museum looks at the negative parts of today's society, blaming these problems on a lack of faith in the Bible. This is the entrance into the section that feels more like a haunted house and less like a museum. The section is set to look like a rundown, almost post-apocalyptic town. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
The museum explains that human philosophies and religions that don't use the Bible are part of why the world is becoming so chaotic. They explain most of their facts through plaques or descriptions on the walls/ These are some news clippings that depict violence and chaos in today's society. This is a part of the "town" that represents our modern world abandoning the Bible. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
This section is a bit brighter than the post-apocalyptic town. It's a romanticised look into the world that Adam and Eve lived in. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
Here Adam is interacting peacefully with all of the animals. Adam has a very big role in the Bible, but in the museum he's depicted as the origin of all sin after he disobeyed God. Before disobeying God, there was no death, everything was peaceful, and all animals, including dinosaurs, were vegetarians. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
This section takes a look at the world after Adam sins. After Adam sinned against God by eating an apple from the Garden of Eden, which he was forbidden to do, God punished the world by introducing pain and death. Here you see a dinosaur eating a smaller dinosaur. Not all animals are vegetarians now. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
When God introduced pain and death, one of the specific pains was during childbirth. Here you see one of Adam and Eve's children picking carrots in a world that is much less appealing than the beautiful forest that Adam and Eve were seen in before eating the apple. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
The organization that owns the Creation Museum is currently making a life size Noah's ark. This section of the museum shows what it looked like to be working on the arc and talks about Noah's reasoning for making the arc. Noah made an arc to hold two of every animal to survive a flood that would wipe out the rest of the world. God did this because of how evil the world was getting and wanted to wipe the slate clean. Photo: Taylor Dorrell
This statue is at the front of the building and is seen before and after going through the museum. Photo: Taylor Dorrell