Challenged by Creationists, Museums Answer Back
It's a shame that it's come to this, but I think museums are right to train their docents "on ways to deal with visitors who reject settled precepts of science on religious grounds."
One company, called B.C. Tours "because we are biblically correct," even offers escorted visits to the Denver Museum of Science and Nature. Participants hear creationists' explanations for the exhibitions.
So officials like Judy Diamond, curator of public programs at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln, are trying to meet such challenges head-on.
Dr. Diamond is working on evolution exhibitions financed by the National Science Foundation that will go on long-term display at six museums of natural history from Minnesota to Texas. The program includes training for docents and staff members.
"The goal is to understand the controversies, so that people are better able to handle them as they come up," she said. "Museums, as a field, have recognized we need to take a more proactive role in evolution education."
One museum offers this list of answers to frequently asked questions to its docents, which seems like a good thing.
I worry, though, that National Science Foundation money will dry up. The politicial pressure to stop teaching evolution is only going to get worse.
Note: Be sure to check out the New York Times' index of articles on evolution.