Two phrases I like to see together: ‘Creation Museum’ and ‘Financial Trouble’

We’ve been getting rumblings about this for some time now: Ken Ham’s Creation “Museum” is struggling. This is not surprising. It’s initial success was due to novelty and capitalizing on controversy, but all of that is fading.

In a developing story from Kentucky, the Creation Museum is running out of money due to declining attendance, bringing their “Ark Encounter” project to a stand-still because of a lack of funding.

Interestingly, the reason for the slowing traffic seems to be creationism itself, since the main exhibit has literally not changed in 5 years. Most museums’ exhibits change as new discoveries are made, as artifacts travel from other museums to visit, or as adjustments in scientific thinking are made.

Another reason could be the demographic that creationism’s proponents target.

Mark Joseph Stern from Slate.com writes:

A spectacle like the Creation Museum has a pretty limited audience. Sure, 46 percent of Americans profess to believe in creationism, but how many are enthusiastic enough to venture to Kentucky to spend nearly $30 to see a diorama of a little boy palling around with a vegetarian dinosaur? The museum’s target demographic may not be eager to lay down that much money: Belief in creationism correlates to less education, and less education correlates to lower income.

In hopes to draw repeat customers, the museum has added zip-lining and sky bridge courses to their attractions this summer. But when confronted by critics who wonder what the zip-lining and sky bridge attractions have to do with the museum’s message, Mike Zovath, the museums co-founder and vice president, says that the extra activities are irrelevant.

The Ark Encounter is a similar desperate ploy to grab attention — it’s true that you have to spend money to make money, but they’re in the position now of having to pour more wealth into their enterprise than they can get out of it. It’s doomed to the fate of Holy Land USA and Heritage USA.

I’d tell you to go now while you still can, but I don’t want to give it a blip of attendance…it’s time to let it die a peaceful, natural death.

Comments

  1. karley jojohnston says

    While the Kentucky museum goes down, a new one rises to takes it place (Branson in this case).

    It’s almost like there’s a law for conservation of stupidity. I hope the one in Branson sees the same fate eventually.

  2. says

    Well I have always hated having that thing in our backyard, good riddance. Branson on the other hand, I’m not sure why they didn’t put it there inthe first place, it would fit right in. Plus it’s already a tourist destination. Sticking the damn thing on cheep land out by the airport, not near anything, was always a mistake.

  3. Moggie says

    PZ, when the “museum” finally goes bust and sells their shit at auction, I demand that you put in a bid for that Triceratops ride.

  4. Ex Patriot says

    This is one post I really enjoyed reading. I hope it doess go belly up and the one in Branson follows on its heels. It is time for these so called museums of stupidity to quit multiplying.

  5. drxym says

    The museum needs to be more interactive and engaging – “Why do birds have wings? Push the button and find out!” Answer – “Because God decreed them to be that way”. Hours of fun.

  6. petemoulton says

    Yes, the juxtaposition of “Creation Museum” and “Financial Trouble” is right up there with “Kent Hovind” and “Tax Evasion.”

  7. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    It is time for these so called museums of stupidity to quit multiplying.

    Except for Graham Parker’s, of course.

    *Sadly, lyrics only. There is no YouTube video.

  8. Draken says

    If you don’t like to call it ‘museum’, you could try ‘Creation Nutseum’ or ‘Creation Nauseum’.

  9. Moggie says

    Actually, a genuine museum of stupidity could be pretty interesting. And it would never run out of new exhibits.

  10. woggler says

    Of course, Ken ‘The Lie’ Ham denies that his silly theme park is in trouble. But then, there’s a guy down at the chip shop swears he’d Elvis, but he’s a liar and so is Ken Ham.

    (Tip of the hat to Kirsty McColl)

  11. kurtbasham says

    “…confronted by critics who wonder what the zip-lining and sky bridge attractions have to do with the museum’s message…”

    Who can forget the thrilling account of Moses zip-lining The Chosen People across the Red Sea?

  12. raven says

    Ken Ham is at least starting to listen to me.

    The monument to the power of modern plastics was always a limited attraction. Seen one plastic dinosaur, seen them all.

    He really needed to add some more features. Amusement park rides and maybe a roller coaster. A bar/nightclub. Rock music venue. And the most important part. A casino!!! Got to have a casino.

    However, he is on the wrong track again. Instead of a casino, we have a….zip line.

  13. Trebuchet says

    I just LOVE the Bullwinkle antler on that Chinese dragon. Proof of design!

  14. raven says

    It looks also like the Ark Park might never be built. It’s hard to tell how much these guys are religion pushers and how much, just plain old scammers. A for profit company operated by a nonprofit or is it the other way around?

    It would just be another monument to supidity and superstition. We have enough of those. They are usually called…”churches”.

    But even if it is so what?

    The Big Boat genocide is one of the most vicious, pointless stories in the bible.

    1. God the incompetent idiot screws up and creates beings in his own image, i.e. flawed.

    2. He blames his actions on his creations. God isn’t big on taking personal responsibility. I suppose if you are god, no one can make you.

    3. To fix his mistakes, he invents genocide and kills all but 8 people, a record of mass murder on a percentage basis that has never been equaled. Plus all our nonavian dinosaurs. We miss our dinosaurs.

    4. And it didn’t work. We are still the same old humans we always were. Plan B was to send himself down to get killed as jesus. That didn’t work either. Plan C is more mass murder at the Apocalypse, when the earth and 7 billion people are killed.

    Gods fixes for his own mistakes usually involve murder or mass murder and have yet to work.

    And xians want to construct a monument to all this?

  15. says

    It is not a surprise.

    In a real museum, you can go back every few years to learn something new and there are always more interesting things to show and learn about.

    In a “Creation Museum” it is just “God Did It” this year and next. Nothing new and nothing changes. No reason to go back and nothing to learn.

  16. says

    And they didn’t even build the Intelligent Design Museum.

    Oddly, the static, simple-minded “answers” of the creationists aren’t anything that interests people much, except when they react against anything intelligent and dynamic that threatens such BS.

    So maybe what they need to do is to produce some real science using ID/creationism. At least the attempt could be worth a few laughs.

    Glen Davidson

  17. sisu says

    Moggie @14:

    Actually, a genuine museum of stupidity could be pretty interesting. And it would never run out of new exhibits.

    Minneapolis used to have a Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, which was HILARIOUS. All sorts of quackery, presented and debunked in a really entertaining fashion. I went there with my now-husband on one of our first dates.

    The museum sadly closed when its founder retired, but the collection was sold to the Science Museum of Minnesota. So you can still go see phrenology skulls and prostate warmers. :)

  18. hypatiasdaughter says

    Sure, 46 percent of Americans profess to believe in creationism….

    But I am not sure that 46% of Americans believe in Ham/Hovind’s version of creationism – 6 days, 6,000 years, Adam & Eve, Big Flood, dinosaurs on the ark and dragons.
    I think many really believe in “God the Creator of It All” in some vague wishy washy way that they meld with most of science and even evolution…it works in some never really thought out too deeply way.
    I point (again) to the dad who sent his daughter to a xtian school then was appalled at the Hammy science she was being taught. Well, sure, he wanted her to learn all the warm fuzzy stuff about God, but not outright anti-science batshit!
    I have talked to liberal religionists who believe in God – and are shocked that people actually believe in literal creationism. It’s why the liberal religionists rarely speak out against fundie nonsense. They think the fundies are a tiny minority of kooks, like the guy who says he was abducted by aliens last night and taken to Vega.
    The liberal xtians don’t realize this batshit minority is wielding more power than their numbers warrant because of stealth activism, deceit and the the compliance of the liberal xtains who give them political support while being ignorant of their true goals.

  19. dorght says

    Before the schadenfreude stuck too deep I thought how many real science based educational museums would be in the same ark if they depended solely on attendance and public donations for revenue.

  20. says

    Before the schadenfreude stuck too deep I thought how many real science based educational museums would be in the same ark if they depended solely on attendance and [private] donations for revenue.

    Yes, they have to buy real fossils, real science artifacts, catalog massive numbers of objects, change out exhibits to stay current (and interesting), and keep up with research and teach the public science. It’s hugely more costly to run a real museum than a silly little amusement park like the Creation “Museum.”

    How well could evolutionary science proceed based on private donations and monies derived from research into the evolution of vertebrates? IDists/creationists don’t seem to need the public money for their output. I think we know why.

    Glen Davidson

  21. says

    and monies derived from research into the evolution of vertebrates?

    For example, that is. For while I realize that money is made off of evolutionary science, much of it wouldn’t pay off directly, although perhaps as a public good it may pay financially, in addition to being worth it for the knowledge, IMO.

    Glen Davidson

  22. halloweenjack says

    I wonder if they’ll even make that big of a splash in Branson; there’s already quite a lot of dinner theaters and the like there–it seemed pretty saturated when I was there last (about a decade ago).

  23. says

    I would say that much of the 46% believes in an old earth and evolution but that they buy into the whole “irreducible complexity” bit. They think that evolution is a weak and controversial theory with holes that can only be filled by the God of the gaps. They think we have souls and bonobos don’t, and that the measurable difference between us and the bonobo could not possibly be lined up with things like genes and the fossil record.

    This is pretty much directly the fault of the Ken Hams of the world and IMHO does far more damage than confusing the goggle-eyed kids who go to check out his animatronic dragons.

  24. Rich Woods says

    What’s the annual rainfall in Kentucky? I’d like to see Ken raise just enough money to lay down the keel and maybe a rib or two of his ark, then go broke. Over subsequent years we could watch as the timbers sank, rotting, ever deeper into the mud…

  25. w00dview says

    In a “Creation Museum” it is just “God Did It” this year and next. Nothing new and nothing changes. No reason to go back and nothing to learn.

    This is what I always wanted to ask those “teach the controversy” types. What, exactly, would you be teaching? I imagine the class would just be the teacher looking slack jawed at a picture of a platypus and say “no way THAT evolved! God/Designer did it!” Wow, what a deep, complex theory ya got there! No actual plausible alternative hypotheses, just the glorification of ignorance. Yeah, American society sure needs more of that.

  26. Margaret says

    I would say that much of the 46% believes in an old earth and evolution but that they buy into the whole “irreducible complexity” bit.

    No. The 46% believe that the Earth and the species on it poofed into existence largely as-is within the last 10,000 years. That makes them young-earth creationists. The next largest group of Americans believes in something they call “evolution”, but believe that a god controls (or at least started) it. That makes them evolutionary creationists. Those Americans who accept scientific evolution are in the smallest of the three groups (though I’m not sure how many of them could actually tell you what evolution is).

  27. Amphiox says

    Looks to me like the Hamster (and his ilk)’s two gods, the Free Market, and the Bible, are having a doctrinal dispute.

    Pass the popcorn….

  28. debbaasseerr says

    @21 – Isn’t it funny that (to steal a line from Matt Dillahunty) Everything the god of the bible does is a disaster.

    You’d think an all-powerful being would have a better success rate.

  29. dexitroboper says

    The word “museum” comes from the nine Muses of Ancient Greek mythology. By calling it the Creation Museum, Ham is indirectly endorsing paganism.

  30. Johnny Au Gratin says

    My fundie co-worker has been a repeat customer. He recently took a short break from blaming feminism for all the country’s economic problems and Darwinism for the Holocaust to inform me that the Creation Museum has the world’s best planetarium. I told him that was hardly surprising as none of the stars are more than 6000 years old. They probably still have that new star smell. There’s also the polishing of the light as a consequence of being pre-extruded to within 6000 light years of Earth.

  31. satanaugustine says

    Hypatiasdaughter and ChristineRose – You’re giving Americans far too much credit. As Margaret points out the 46% are indeed young earth creationists – they believe that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. This according to a 2012 Gallup poll. That number has not varied much in the 30 years that Gallup has been asking these questions (the average percentage during those 30 years is 45%).

    32% believe in God-guided evolution. They’re the “theistic evolutionists.” which is basically a form of ID. Only 15% accept scientific evolution.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/Hold-Creationist-View-Human-Origins.aspx

  32. caekslice says

    Dunno what the big problem is. All they need to do is put up some exhibits of the new discoveries creationist scientists have made and uh… oh.

  33. beerslayer says

    Personally, I think they ought to add a couple of sleestaks and rename the place “Land of the Lost”.

  34. says

    Graven Images

    I couldn’t help but notice the dragon in the video about the Creation Museum.

    Now, if the dragon they had set up at the museum were of the proper, Western, variety, its presence could be readily explained. Arthurian type dragons must have perished in the Great Flood along with the dinosaurs and unicorns, so having such a dragon on the premises would be strictly according to Hoyle.

    But the dragon depicted is of the Chinese variety. Uh, don’t quite know how to break this to those godly guys and gals, but Chinese dragons such as the ones depicted are gods. Pagan idol type gods. The sort of pagan idol that God-fearing Christians are supposed to abominate, and never, on pain of eternal damnation, ever set up.

    On a brighter note, the idol they have set up at the museum is supposed to be protective of the premises. That would raise interesting theological questions that become more pointed the longer the museum continues to be safe from robbers. Is t the dragon that’s keeping harm away? Or is it the Living God that’s protecting them, overlooking for a time the idolatry of the museum’s management, and withholding His wrath? There is hope for all us sinner evolutionists if God will withhold His wrath even from idolaters.

  35. theignored says

    glentomkins at 47>: They’ll just say that the chinese got their “pagan gods” from seeing dinosaurs.

  36. Rebecca Washington says

    These narrow minded people who thinks only those that think like them should be heard…and I am not talking about the creation museum people. I find it to be very interesting that the main criticism of the people who would probably work for a place like this is their rigid, narrow minded perspective. That is the reason why they seem ignorant because they are not willing to consider the perspective of others. Your hostility toward a museum that you do not have to visit or promote makes you the narrow minded one who demonstrates a primitive hostility toward those who thinks differently. Be fair. But it is not about fairness, its about you winning. I want to look at all perspectives, not just theirs and not just yours and draw my own conclusions. That is the civilized thing to do. But to be gleeful over some group who has a different perspective fail is, at best, barbaric.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Your hostility toward a museum that you do not have to visit or promote makes you the narrow minded one who demonstrates a primitive hostility toward those who thinks differently.

    PZ has visited the museum. He was polite inside, and laughed out loud about the abject ignorance of the science presented therein afterwords. The hostility is from you, who is the one being laughed at if you believe in imaginary things, like deities and holy books being inerrant.

    I want to look at all perspectives, not just theirs and not just yours and draw my own conclusions. That is the civilized thing to do.

    Sorry, this statement doesn’t make sense. The religious perspective is one of faith, not evidence. Science is both a methodology and the facts it uncovers, and is based on evidence, not faith or authority. Science is only refuted by more science. Religion can’t touch it, as it isn’t science, and provides no scientific evidence. But science makes religion look laughable. And that is the problem some religious people have, they can’t look foolish in their faith.

  38. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    These narrow minded people who thinks only those that think like them should be heard…and I am not talking about the creation museum people. I find it to be very interesting that the main criticism of the people who would probably work for a place like this is their rigid, narrow minded perspective. That is the reason why they seem ignorant because they are not willing to consider the perspective of others. Your hostility toward a museum that you do not have to visit or promote makes you the narrow minded one who demonstrates a primitive hostility toward those who thinks differently. Be fair. But it is not about fairness, its about you winning. I want to look at all perspectives, not just theirs and not just yours and draw my own conclusions. That is the civilized thing to do. But to be gleeful over some group who has a different perspective fail is, at best, barbaric.

    Dear Ms. Washington, Please take a few minutes to review the scientific findings for the last, well for ever. Nothing in any of these findings supports the creation museum or biblical creation . Once you do this with an honest mind you’ll find your answer to why we are so critical of this “museum”.

    Signed,
    The reality based community.

  39. Menyambal --- Ooo, look! A garage sale ... says

    Rebecca Washington, it is very nice of you to advocate open-mindedness, but you have made a couple of mistakes.

    First, the Creation Museum is dedicated to close-mindedness—it is a faith-based organization, and “faith” is another word for close-minded. So is “belief”. Most religions are dedicated to the stubborn adherence to something for which there is no evidence—that is what they do.

    Second, science is dedicated to examining all perspectives, and drawing unbiased conclusions, just as you are proud of doing. Your belief that scientific folks do not do that is an example of your own close-minded faith. Where do you get that view of science and scientists? What evidence do you have for it?

    Given your way of writing, I have doubts that you can read and evaluate evidence. Given that you popped in here to berate us, I don’t think that you are open-minded or civilized.

  40. says

    These narrow minded people who thinks only those that think like them should be heard…and I am not talking about the creation museum people.

    Why, do they tell their marks to read Dawkins, to honestly consider the case for evolution at real museums?

    Even you aren’t that stupid, you know that they don’t.

    I find it to be very interesting that the main criticism of the people who would probably work for a place like this is their rigid, narrow minded perspective.

    And just because they don’t honestly consider any alternative to their single rigid dogma. IOW, it’s the truth. Handle?

    That is the reason why they seem ignorant because they are not willing to consider the perspective of others.

    No, liar, it’s because they tell others not to consider the results of honest discovery.

    Your hostility toward a museum that you do not have to visit or promote makes you the narrow minded one who demonstrates a primitive hostility toward those who thinks differently.

    You’re either very ignorant or very dishonest. We’re not bothering churches teaching their dogmas. This highly dishonest non-museum is completely distorting not only science, but even how honest discovery is done.

    Be fair. But it is not about fairness, its about you winning.

    Then why are you coming in here lying? The issue is the gross deception being shoveled to kids who don’t know any better. And you’re only in favor of the narrowness, the dogma, and the lies told to kids.

    I want to look at all perspectives, not just theirs and not just yours and draw my own conclusions.

    It’s more than clear that you haven’t bothered to understand our perspective at all. It isn’t really “our perspective” either, it’s what honest discovery and evaluation produce. You just want to tell people that extreme bias and lies is perfectly equal to sober epistemics.

    That is the civilized thing to do. But to be gleeful over some group who has a different perspective fail is, at best, barbaric.

    It’s not a group who “has a different perspective,” it’s a fraud. You’re a fraud. Quit lying.

    Glen Davidson