Sunday, September 14, 2008

Remember Remember the 8th of September

Last Monday marked the realization of a long-held dream for me. I went to the Newport Aquarium, which was every bit as fabulous as I’d been led to believe. I petted the sharks; I watched the raysharks sail overhead in their immersive reef tank environment (and holy shit is that cool); I saw otters, frogs, alligators, turtles, jellyfish, and other things that make me marvel at the amazing beauty and diversity of our natural world. And then… Then we went to the Creation Museum.

I consider myself a religious person. I consider myself a pretty open-minded person generally. But I just cannot wrap my head around biblical literalism. So walking into the Creation Museum, I was prepared for a WTF experience of (dare I say) Biblical Proportions. And I was not disappointed!

The Creation Museum, if you've not encountered it before, is a museum-cum-entertainment facility run by and directed at the followers of a ministry called Answers in Genesis, whose basic premise is that the book of Genesis (not to mention the rest of the bible) must be taken literally, word for word--and therefore, the earth must only be about 6000 years old. With that premise, they then go on to explain fossils, dinosaur/dragon conflation, diversity of species, and oh yes, the Fall of Man and the evils of the ACLU. To be fair, let me start by saying that the museum itself is a beautiful facility, some gorgeous design concepts, and that everyone who works there was the soul of niceness--no proselytizing or pushyness, they really did just kind of leave you to it. As a museum professional, I have to say I was a little disappointed at the complete lack of interactivity--there were two interactives, both in the Noah's ark room, and both frankly kind of lame. It was more like a walkthrough theme park ride than a museum in the sense that I usually use the word. But all that aside... HOLY CRAP THAT'S SOME F'D UP SHIT. From the dueling paleontologists (kindly white guy with a godly perspective vs. foolish Asian pagan scientist) to the hellishly creepy child manniquins leading you toward the light, to the brachiosaurs entering the Ark, to the label explaining why incest used to be OK, this museum is a testament to the cracked out fringe of Christian society. I'm not saying I didn't have fun there, mind you.
Any museum that lets me ride a ceratopsian is OK in my book. There will be a full photoset on Flickr shortly, with more amazing Creation Museum goodness.