The Ark Encounter or The Bible Museum

The Ark is Fundamentalism. The Bible Museum is Evangelical.

They are very different movements.

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Yes they are very different. Thanks for this article. I learned that the Bible Museum was free. was very glad about that. Also note that the Bible Museum was both receptive to hear and actually made changes based on FFRF research and critique. The Bible Museum is now honestly open to portraying the Bible as openly and honestly as possible.


In general the Bible Museum has been doing the best they can. They made mistakes but then fixed them when they could. It is not easy to start a Museum, and to do it all well, especially when it includes getting a large number of artifacts. They made mistakes, but are fixing things just as they should. They are being up front and are definitely trying to be as honest and accurate as possible.

I was particularly impressed by their decision to engage with race head on. That certainly deserves credit, and will hopefully do real good. As I understand it, this is a museum that an atheist could go to without ridiculing. Perhaps you wouldn’t agree, but we all might also learn something.

The contrast between the Ark Encounter and the Bible Museum could not be more stark. It is the contrast between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism.


This is a great article! I had no idea that fundamentalists were considered that way–though I would imagine if one really got to the fundamentals of Christ, one would be evangelical.

“Fundamentalism anticipates God’s judgment with perverted delight, whereas evangelicalism’s covenant mentality pleads for God to show mercy and expands outward in ripples of influence beyond itself. This is well illustrated in the Museum of the Bible’s exhibit on the song “Amazing Grace,” which rippled from its 18th-century evangelical origins into the very styles of music born from the slaves that John Newton, its author, once bought and sold.”

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Actually, I’m really afraid, with the low birthrate of the “nones,” high growth of the very religious worldwide, tendency of generations to rebel against the previous one, and void left by a society that no longer enforces old rules, that a very legalistic religion will replace our current dialogue. Dawkins fears militant Islam; I’m not sure what it will be, but it may be something worrisome. Humans aren’t inherently reasonable–we always seem to fall back on our anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong–I am a Christian. I’m worried that lack of a belief in a Bible with authority will lead to another path of either emotionalism or extreme legalism in reaction.

Great discussion of the Bible museum. I was worried about their way of getting artifacts from the Mideast; I’d read that they may have financed ISIS by illegal purchases. It sounds like they are acting out their faith/morals.

I was absolutely amazed at the letter FFRF got back from them. They thanked FFRF for their research and then made the changes!

I actually felt bad for them as they got catch up with all kinds of problems with artifacts from Iran and Egypt. Then the IRS had to put its nose in after they found out that the Bible museum was unknowingly being exploited in a money laundering ancient artifacts international crime ring.

It is certainly a museum where an atheist and an American can go and enjoy. The bible has been the most influential book in human history.

Yes the contrast between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism is stark. Seeing how this plays out in the years ahead is going to be dramatic. This year’s mid-term elections should be a big hint on how fast times are a changing.


I am actually optimistic on the future. My son’s generation (millienials) seem to be fairly wise for their age. They are naturally more skeptical about everything. They are also more cooperative among themselves and certainly more attuned to their moralities, ethics and values that are quite different than their parents. They are certainly less ridged than previously generations and very flexible in how they live their lives. They are much more adaptable to the ever changing world than mine or my parents generations.


I would agree that there are many things improving. Society is less violent, and there is better healthcare than ever. Suffering in general has greatly improved. worldwide, with fewer famines in general. There are some terrific millennials out there. Your family is undoubtedly part of them. I have cousins in that genre–a PhD in organic chem from Duke, much less prejudice, hardworking folks all.
Hopefully, they will buffer against the scary ones. I’m sorry–I’m sounding anxious. That’s my genre!

Is that letter anywhere online? I would love to see it.


Free general admission was replaced by $25 tickets for adult walk-ins a few months after Patrick’s post. I recall a museum spokesman’s statement that a review of their finances after a year of operations led to the conclusion that free admission was simply not sustainable.

I have no doubt that operating such a large museum in a city like Washington D.C. is very expensive, even for a 501c3 non-profit. I just hope that the total cost of tickets for families—such as two walk-in adults at $50 and three age 7 to 17 years old children at $45, $95 total for the family—does not deprive many tourists of this excellent educational experience. (Of course, the Museum of the Bible is a bargain compared to Ark Encounter tickets.)

Of course, I’m an old guy who remembers museum admissions of $1.50 for adults and 50cents for children. So I’m not a good judge of ticket prices.

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I’m struggling to read the facade’s script in the photo:

My eyesight is poor and I can only expand the image to a limited degree. Can anyone help me with this? (My first impression was that it might be boustrophedon—ox-turning script—where lines alternate right-to-left and left-to-right, much like a farmer plows a field. Yet, my closer inspection gave me the impression that the lines might all be right-to-left mirror reverse script. Unfortunately, my vision is too impaired to see the script clearly. My impressions are probably completely wrong as a result.)

It can’t be a “flipped” photo—because “Museum of the Bible” is clearly readable above the entrance door. (Alas, I miss the eyes of my youth.)

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It’s Genesis 1 from the Gutenberg Bible:

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Actually…sort of. I finally figured out why the text made absolutely no sense to me! Latin was my first guess but I couldn’t decipher any of the script. And then it dawned on me: The two columns are NOT the first printed page from the Gutenberg Bible. These are renderings of the “reverse image” Gutenberg printing plates!

Yes, if one rubbed plenty of ink on these entrance doors and applied a giant sheet of parchment (or vellum), you would have an easily readable Vulgate version of Genesis 1.

Mystery solved. (And now I know that I wasn’t going crazy after all. This explains why I couldn’t make sense of the alphabet!)


@AllenWitmerMiller How is this for you?



So much easier, Michael!


I’m glad you noticed this! Allen!! @AllenWitmerMiller

Makes you wonder if Ham even knows they’re that way. :wink:


@Timothy_Horton, I wonder if Ken Ham ever visits other museums, especially other museums sponsored by Christian organizations. (After all, the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum have “world class” exhibits, according to Ham.)

I noticed that the first six-months of attendance at the Museum of the Bible passed a half million people. Of course, that was when admission was entirely free (or by voluntary donations only.) Of course, Ham is far more secretive about attendance at his museums.

Clearly, the educational mission of the Museum of the Bible is quite different from Ham’s museums.


Here is a excellent “fly-through” of the Museum of the Bible:

In terms of architectural beauty, it leaves the Answers in Genesis associated museums in the dust. (Of course, the exhibits in the MOTB are quite aesthetically pleasing also.)