Today (Monday) in the United States is Memorial Day, a time each year when Americans remember military personnel who have died in service to their country. Answers in Genesis staff are remembering something else today as well: rejoicing in the fact that exactly one year ago, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to open AiG’s now-popular Creation Museum.1 In twelve months, a remarkable 404,800 visitors have poured through its doors.
(By the way, for Memorial Day, all U.S. military—active or veteran—can visit the museum at no charge.)
An excellent piece that appeared yesterday on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer (AiG’s hometown newspaper) offered a remembrance of the museum’s wonderful first year. The fair and balanced article by reporter Kari Wethington was accompanied by some beautiful photographs (but also mentioned some of the opposition the museum has seen). AiG staff (many dozen of whom are working today to handle what is expected to be a large holiday crowd) were encouraged to see a secular newspaper not only feature a major story that was not an agenda-driven piece (which is what we sometimes see from some major news outlets), but one that was done accurately.2 Two museum-related articles (with more photographs) appeared on page 10 of the Enquirer.
The eye-catching, above-the-fold headline was “A Prayerful Place,” with a subtitle that included the words “smash hit.” It provided an excellent retrospective of the museum’s first year. Though the online version of the article differs somewhat from the print version (such as the subtitle), this link will allow you to read a largely similar article (and see some of the photos) that appeared in the newspaper on Sunday.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
- “Deb Minnard begins every work day in prayer, standing side by side with her colleagues. . . . ‘I love working where you have prayer in the morning with the people you work with,’ she said.”
- “All 280 staff members of the museum and founding ministry, the nonprofit Answers in Genesis, begin their days in prayer before visitors arrive.”
- “For some of the museum’s visitors, it’s the perfect family vacation spot. It’s also a popular faith-building getaway for churches, as a field trip for Christian school groups and home-schooled families.”
- “In the last two years, the ministry has also increased its outreach to non-English-speaking countries. It has 75 translation projects in the works.”
- “To keep up with larger-than-expected crowds, the museum has added extra cafés and seating, doubled its restrooms, opened a two-story Dinosaur Den exhibit, added to its botanical gardens and walking trails and opened a petting zoo featuring llamas, miniature donkeys and goats.”
- “New programming, including a lecture series, children’s reading program and theatrical performances, was introduced.”
- “And there’s more construction to come, with plans under way for an additional parking lot and a small auditorium on museum grounds to host speakers and educational events and seat several hundred people.”
- “Many features that will be introduced in the next year are focused on the museum’s younger visitors. . . . ‘The secularists are out there, and they’re pushing all sorts of information to children—they’re going to hear enough about evolution over the years,’ Ham said. . . . ‘Our policy is to influence people and to see others converted to Christianity,’ Ham said. ‘We are in the business of influencing lives, which then influences culture. We are not involved in politics or directly involved with school boards. I know there are people in those battles who use our materials, but that’s the whole point—it’s individual lives that influence culture.’
- “While the museum continues to plan for expansion, Ham said those changes will be made slowly, as funding allows. . . . Ham and Looy are optimistic that the museum’s second year will also be successful.”
Today, we also pause to remember our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ, with deep gratitude, for blessing this evangelistic, Bible-affirming center with hundreds of thousands of visitors. We rejoice in knowing that many are leaving the museum with changed lives: those who receive Christ as Savior after hearing the gospel message and those Christians who, now more emboldened in their faith, will be sharing the gospel with more effectiveness with their friends and family.