Because we think the Creation Museum matters, in Righting America we take the museum seriously. At the most basic level, this means taking seriously what the museum says about itself and what Answers in Genesis spokespersons say about the museum.
In the book’s first three chapters we examine the Museum as a museum, the Museum’s science, and the Museum’s use of the Bible. As we observe in the book’s introduction,
these chapters start with what the Museum/AiG assert — that the Museum is a state-of-the-art museum, that it displays lots of ‘real science,’ and that it is committed to upholding biblical authority — and then we compare these assertions with what is going on at the museum (14-15).
To study the Museum this way, we do not engage questions about whether the Creation Museum is a “real” museum, whether the science displayed in the Creation Museum is “real” science, or whether the Creation Museum’s approach to biblical interpretation is “legitimate.” These questions may have merit (although we find good v. bad more compelling than, say, real v. fake), but they are not questions we engage precisely because we are more interested in what the Museum does than what it is.
To understand the Museum, we had to take into account everything that is going on there. A lot is going on and all at once: videos, dioramas, images, voiceovers, and much text on placards, displays, and more. To really understand what is going on we had to slow everything down and painstakingly examine the wide range of content presented at the museum.
Add to this some of the flood of electronic and printed material produced by Answers in Genesis, and this is a project that took a significant amount of time. If our goal was to mock the Museum, or if our goal was to take at face value what Ken Ham and AiG said about the Museum, we could have done this work very quickly. But we were determined to take the Museum seriously, as scholars, and so we put in the time.
In subsequent posts, we’ll discuss our approach to studying the Museum and AiG’s materials as a way to show more about the scholarly work that is behind Righting America.