When I speak to guests inside our Creation Museum or talk to the media, they are often surprised to learn that the Creation Museum is four years old. To them, it just seems like a year or so ago when the opening of the museum was international news—are you aware that we had over 100 media outlets come to the museum during our first week of operation in late May 2007?
Today, May 28, is our official 4-year anniversary. We’ve already been interviewed about this milestone on the American Family Radio network and by the Salem Radio News network. Nowadays, the media are also asking for a progress report on the Ark Encounter—the full-size, all-wood Noah’s Ark we’re building south of the Creation Museum.
As I look back on the Creation Museum’s short history, I think of the study I received last year about the impact the Creation Museum has had in the region and a snapshot of who our visitors have been. Over the years I have shared life-changing testimonies from our museum guests, but this time I wanted to give you some interesting museum findings from the study:
- The average Creation Museum visitor lives 259 miles away
- The average length of stay at the museum for a guest is nearly six hours
- Just over half the museum visitors spend the night in the area, and the average overnight stay is 1.8 nights (this is a huge economic benefit to the region—for hotels, restaurants, etc.)
- According to our outside consultant, the direct and indirect expenditures spent by museum visitors adds $61.3 million each year to the local economy; also the tax revenue generated in the area is estimated to total $3.6 million each year.
I recall four to five years ago when some people (even some Christians) thought that the Creation Museum would be a “white elephant” and fail. We publicly said we hoped 250,000 people would come the first year, and many scoffed. Well, 404,000 came that first year, and we’ve been averaging over 325,000 guests a year since then.
Now in 2011, we are noticing that some humanists are scoffing at the possibility that 1.6 million visitors (according to a research firm) would come to the Ark Encounter the first year. A recent study—commissioned by the State of Kentucky and conducted by another researcher—estimated (conservatively) that 1.2 million visitors would come to the Ark from outside the State of Kentucky; if you add that number to the many tens of thousands of people who will come to the Ark Encounter from all around Kentucky, we think the Ark will attract at four to five times as many visitors as the Creation Museum each year.
By the way, when I wrote that we were hoping for 250,000 people to come to the museum the first year, an outside consultant (ARG) predicted that we would have about 400,000 visitors; we felt that number might be high, and so we went public with a more conservative 250,000 annual figure. ARG was pleased to see their prediction confirmed when we told them that we had 404,000 visitors the first year. Their estimate was spot on.
I noticed a blog recently that falsely indicated that we receive 250,000 visitors a year, and the blogger’s point was that our museum was not very popular at all and thus our Ark projections were not realistic. Well, he had his figures wrong. We’ve had annual attendance ranging from 305,000 to 404,000, and given the rough economy, we are praising God for such great attendance—it has exceeded our projections.
I suggest that on our museum’s fourth birthday today that you take a quick look at the history of the Creation Museum—its design, opposition, construction, and grand opening—and rejoice with us. Go to www.answersingenesis.org/about/history and scroll down a bit to the large section that covers the Creation Museum.
As we enter the museum’s fifth year of operation, we are looking forward to the completion (in a few weeks) of our 1,000-seat multi-purpose auditorium (which we are calling Legacy Hall), the building of an observatory (we have a couple of donated high-power telescopes), and also some new exhibits. When we opened the museum four years ago today, we determined that this place would not become a “static” one.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,