(Photo: Creation Museum)
The Creation Museum recently dedicated a new observatory housing a historic telescope developed by a respected Christian inventor whose works have been used by NASA.
The new Johnson Observatory, named after inventor Lyle Johnson, was dedicated last Friday at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., by some 130 museum staff and guests. The new observatory houses several telescopes, including two permanently mounted 16-inch reflector telescopes, with one of them being the Johnsonian telescope by Lyle Johnson.
"Because our planetarium programs inside our museum have attracted one-million guests since opening in 2007, having an observatory with excellent telescopes is a wonderful addition that will enhance the museum experience for our visitors," said Ken Ham, president/CEO of the Creation Museum and its parent ministry, Answers in Genesis, in a statement.
"We look forward to continuing the legacy of Lyle Johnson by using his telescope to tell others about God's glory and His gospel message."
The Johnsonian telescope was developed by Lyle Johnson, who is a Christian and creationist, in the 1940s. It was part of NASA's "Project Moon-blink" (1964-1966), in which it was used to check for hazardous gas on the Moon before astronauts made a lunar landing.
Johnson's daughter, Barbara Johnson Perry, cut the ribbon during the dedication ceremony. The Johnson family had said they wanted the Johnsonian telescope to be given to an organization that believes God is the creator of the universe, rather than one that believes in the evolutionary "big bang" theory. The telescope was previously housed at the Christian camp "The Wilds" in North Carolina, but the camp did not have a qualified astronomer to care for the telescope. "The Wilds" offered the telescope to the Creation Museum, with the permission of the Johnson family, instead of offering it to the Smithsonian Institution as some suggested.
Dr. Danny Faulkner, who will leave his post as professor and head of the Division of Math, Science, Nursing & Public Health at the University of South Carolina's Lancaster campus later this year, will oversee the planetarium and new Johnson Observatory.
The Creation Museum, perhaps most well-known for exhibits that illustrate a literal interpretation of the Bible, will extend its museum operating hours so visitors can use the telescopes to examine planets and stars as part of the group's "Stargazer's" programs to teach astronomy from a biblical perspective.