Designing for the Lord

Last week, a number of our designers who work on the Creation Museum exhibits and the Ark Encounter project decided to attend a special traveling dinosaur exhibition in our area. I asked the Creation Museum head designer (Doug Henderson) to write me a report on this event. We’ll have a fuller review later on the AiG website about the exhibition’s evolutionary content, but I thought this would make a great blog item for you as Doug really challenges all of us as Christians regarding what we do for the Lord in excellence. Doug (and his wife Cathy) wrote the following:

Thursday night I was delighted to hear a radio ad for “Discover the Dinosaurs” at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. It sounded like a lot of fun. “They’ve been extinct for 65 million years,” the announcer said, “but now they’re here, in Northern Kentucky!” As the head of the Creation Museum design department, I thought this would be a great opportunity for the crew to get out and find artistic inspiration. You know, check out the competition. I thought it would be a valuable learning experience, certainly worth the $14 price of admission ($8 for kids). Of course I knew it would be an evolution promoting, propaganda machine, which it was, but as designers I thought we might see some innovative techniques and technologies we could apply to future museum exhibits. Well, we did learn a lot. However, what we learned was more about what not to do.

The interactive animatronics were good, but they were surrounded by a collection of very home-made looking fiberglass dinosaur sculptures. The place was dark, lit mostly with splashes of blue and green and purple and pink colored light, like a dinosaur disco haunted house. What they lacked in quality, they made up for in quantity. They had piles and piles of randomly arranged, low-end dinosaur sculptures, set up less like a traveling dinosaur museum and more like a dinosaur flea market. There was no standard of quality.

Sadly, the room was full of guests who paid a lot of money to get in. To get to the exit, they had to walk past a host of activities geared to kids, where the average cost was another $6 for each additional activity. From a consumer point of view, I thought it was over-hyped, over-priced and very amateur. But from a Bible-believing artist’s point of view, I was dismayed that the lie of evolution can be foisted on kids at such a cheesy level, without question. If we were to host a dinosaur exhibition with this low of a standard at the Creation Museum, we would be mocked and ridiculed by the guests and media.

What we took away from the experience was this: They can get away with it, but we can’t. As Christian designers, we can’t let up on quality. We can’t let guests dismiss the message because we present it in a sub-standard way. We can’t say, “Oh well, it’s just for the church crowd,” or “We don’t have time to do it better.” We have to strive for excellence in all that we do. The message is too important: God’s Word is true and souls are at stake. But we have to speak the language of the culture if we want to reach them. Our passion as designers is to use the gifts that God has given us to produce displays of the highest standards with the resources that God has given us—not to draw attention to ourselves—but to draw people to Christ, our Creator and Savior. He deserves nothing less than our very best.

And by the way, if you are not a designer, you’re not off the hook. As followers of Christ, God has called all of us to the mission field of “right here, right now.” We are to use the gifts and resources that God has given us, to the best of the abilities that God has given us, to reach out to the people in our sphere of influence. The mission field is not someplace far away that you have to board a plane to get to, it’s where you’re standing, right here, right now.

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)

Here are some photographs taken at this event.

Notice the millions of years indoctrination in the signs.

Some of the not-so-professional signage.

More signage.

Here is the kind of fiberglass-looking model Doug alluded to.

Another dinosaur model.

Here are some photos of kids riding dinosaurs. I have included these because at the Creation Museum, we have a photographic opportunity for kids to sit on a dinosaur sculpture. However, secularists (even famed evolutionist Richard Dawkins, as seen on a YouTube video) have time and time again taken this out of context (it is not a part of any exhibit) and tried to make it seem that we believe people rode dinosaurs around. Just like the secular world, we can give kids a fun time by sitting on a dinosaur. Of course when the secular world does this, nothing is said. But when the Creation Museum has a dinosaur available for kids to ride, we are maligned.

A kid riding a dinosaur.

Another dinosaur ride.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken