Sunday, December 10, 2017

At the Museum

On this beautiful Sunday morning, I took my ten year old grandson to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, one of the best natural history museums in the country.  There we explored exhibits on space exploration, gems and minerals, Egyptian mummies, dinosaurs and the evolution of life in addition to viewing the museum's famous dioramas.

Fortunately, my grandson was very interested in the exhibits and we took our time, stretching the visit over several hours.  As often happens, I took notice of the other patrons as well, many of whom raced through the museum, seemingly interested solely in the beauty of the gemstones or the size of the dinosaur skeletons.  While the museum does an excellent job of explaining its exhibits and placing them in the context of Earth's history, I doubt that most visitors get the big picture; I even imagine that a sizable percentage enjoy the museum's collection while retaining a biblical perspective.

How else to explain the popularity of natural history museums within a religious population.  To mix scientific data and mysticism requires that one either gloss over the information presented or create their own narrative.  As creationist museums spring up across the Bible Belt, the role of science-based institutions becomes ever more important, especially when an anti-science President controls the education pursestrings.  See also Juno & the Ark and Greater Cincinnati's New Museum