Although AiG's much-anticipated Creation Museum isn't scheduled to open until spring 2007, that doesn't mean exhibit construction at the museum isn't hurtling ahead! Last Saturday, Ken Ham, Mike Zovath (museum vice president), Patrick Marsh (lead exhibit designer) and others gathered with a few dozen planetarium and bookstore financial sponsors (along with their families and friends) for the “Weekend in Paradise” dedication ceremony, which honored the One who provided the funding, vision and resolution to complete those major projects. (You can read more about the dedication in Ken's blog.)
The event began in the planetarium, which was dedicated with prayer, followed by words from Ken Ham and Mike Zovath. Then, visitors enjoyed a special 20-minute planetarium presentation from AiG-USA astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle. Next, the party moved to the lobby entrance of the Dragon Hall Bookstore and heard words from Patrick Marsh, Ken Ham, John Bartlett and Tim Dudley before the curtain was removed and guests entered the 3,000 square foot display area that includes exhibits as well as books, Bibles, DVDs, curricula and gift items. After that, the group toured the “still under construction” museum, then met at the Special Effects Theater and watched three of the 55 video presentations that are being produced to be shown at various exhibits throughout the museum. The group then listened as Ken Ham gave an inspirational presentation on the relevance of Genesis. Finally, the group enjoyed dinner in the future Palm Plaza, where the guests were encouraged and challenged to help fund the $3.6 million needed by December 31 in order to complete the museum by the spring of 2007.
Among the visitors was the family that covered the entire cost of the planetarium, plus another group that funded the bookstore. A few of the major donors present were AiG board members-an example that these men are not merely strong, godly leaders, but also are investing in AiG and its Bible-upholding message with all they have.
The bookstore (which you can read about in A Bookstore as Alluring as its Books!) recently opened to the public and the planetarium won't be far behind. Dr. Jason Lisle has produced one planetarium program already and is working on several more. (We'll let you know as soon as the planetarium begins offering programs for the public.)
Of course, these are just advance “previews” of the Creation Museum; they won't necessarily be open full-time or full-scale until the museum opens. Next Friday, however, will be a “stress test” of sorts for these newest features of the museum, as over 2,600 museum charter members will visit for the final behind-the-scenes open house. (You can read a report about and see photos from the last open house in this museum blog entry.) At this open house, charter members and their guests will have one last opportunity to see the bookstore, planetarium and all the other museum exhibits before the museum opens. (After this open house, exhibit construction will be kicked into high gear for the “final stretch” running up to next spring.)
According to John Bartlett, manager of the Dragon Hall Bookstore, the bookstore is trying to catch up after the final burst of construction over the last few months. Currently, a state-of-the-art cash register system is being installed. Soon, science kits, terrariums and other “discovery items” will be available for purchase in the bookstore, some in time for next week's open house. Bartlett has been making numerous orders in anticipation for the event-for everything from pencils to Bible reference books. But “it won't be a problem if everything sells out,” he told me. The store is also moving some displays to help accommodate the thousands who will go through it at the open house. At least the construction equipment is no longer in the way! Bartlett also told me he's already received many questions about the store's theme, in addition to comments about the excellent quality of the design and fabrication work.
The response to the Creation Museum has been incredible-and it's not even open yet! Thanks to the spiritual support and donations of thousands of museum members, the efforts of the museum's artists, design team and fabricators, the vision of AiG's board and leadership team and, most importantly, the providence of God, the museum is right on schedule to open next spring. We prayerfully look forward to seeing visitors come to an understanding of the 7 C's of history-the terrible Fall in Eden and the Answer found at the Cross.