We visited the Creation "Museum" last Friday.
I'm careful to put the title in quotes, because it is not a museum in any respectable sense of the word. I knew this ahead of time; I had no expectation of any kind of credible presentation in this place, but what impressed me most is how far it failed to meet even my low hopes. They clearly want to ape a real museum, but they can't their mission is the antithesis of open inquiry.
The guards are a clear example. Real museums have guards, of course: they're there to protect valuable exhibits from theft and vandalism. But real museums want their guards to be discreet and not interfere with the attendees appreciation of the exhibits. At the Creation "Museum", one of the jobs of the guards is to suppress criticism. They hover about in rather conspicuous uniforms, armed with tasers, and some use police dogs to check out the visitors. They don't want dissent expressed in their building, and they admit it themselves.
There was a lot of mocking inside the museum Friday (and to a lesser extent during Dr. Jason Lisle's noon lecture) by dozens of the 285 in the SSA group, and some of the mocking could be clearly heard by many of our guests (especially in our Noah's Flood rooms, but also in the Garden of Eden exhibit when words like "garbage" were uttered, etc.). Several times during the day we had to ask mockers to keep their voices down (I did it five times myself), but generally, it was more peaceful than what we expected (many blog comments from those who were coming were promising some very aggressive actions).
Think about the genuine museums you might have visited. Can you imagine the curators at the American Museum of Natural History being concerned that someone might openly disagree with an exhibit? Do you think Niles Eldredge bustles about the museum, shushing anyone who questions the displays? Would they turn away a visitor wearing a Jesus shirt, or one that baldly declared evolution is false? At real museums, the attitude would range from indifference to active encouragement of discussion. The Creation "Museum" cannot tolerate that.
We were asked to sign a document before we entered that required us to be "respectful" of their facilities, which apparently meant more than simply appropriately regarding their building as private property. One of our atheists was in an entirely friendly conversation about evolution with a creationist visitor, when one of the guards came up and asked them to stop, saying that we had signed an agreement not to even discuss anything in the building where others could hear. (To his credit, the creationist said that he welcomed the discussion the guards wanted to silence, and they continued outside.) They knew we disagreed with them, and they were clearly on edge and they knew that their beliefs could not stand up in the face of free speech.
There were other differences with real museums once we got inside. Think about the layout of serious museums, like the AMNH or the Smithsonian or our local Bell Museum: you enter, there are various rooms and areas organized by subject matter, but you're free to explore. In fact, that word, "explore", is a central theme of most museums. Maybe it's unfair to compare a small potatoes, non-science affair like Ken Ham's building to major scientific institutions; it's more of a place for family entertainment. So compare it to the Pacific Science Center, or OMSI, or the Franklin museum or the Science Museum of Minnesota places where kids come on field trips and families show up with 5-year-olds, and entertainment is a major function. Exploration is still the byword, and they also emphasize interactivity.