The San Diego Museum Council last week denied membership to the Creation & Earth Science Museum in Santee, Calif. Local news reports said the museum didn’t live up to the council’s standards, but the museum has yet to receive an official explanation for its exclusion.
Dr. Henry Morris of the Institute of Creation Research (ICR) founded the Creation & Earth Science Museum in 1992. Upon ICR’s corporate move to Texas in 2008, he sold the museum and all its contents to Tom Cantor, founder and president of Scantibodies Laboratory, Inc., a research and biotech company with more than 1,500 products used in clinical laboratories worldwide. Over the last six years, Cantor has expanded the museum’s scientific evidence for the biblical account of creation, including an anatomy and physiology wing. The museum, which has no entrance fee, has doubled its attendance to more than 30,000 visitors a year. It offers creation lectures, tours guided by topic experts, and an “Age of Earth” cave for children to explore.
The museum board applied for membership to the San Diego Museum Council last April. On the membership application, board members said the they wanted the museum to join the council because they “would like San Diego to know that there are alternate scientific evidences in support of life’s origins and the biblical account.”
The council’s website features 46 member museums with a wide range of topics and sizes, including the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the California Surf Museum, and the Museum of Making Music. On Aug. 23, eight council members attended a two-hour tour and presentation on the creation museum, Cantor said. At that time, he was questioned again about why he wanted the museum to join the council.
“We told them that the council was not balanced in their promotion of origins without inclusion of the opposing view of creation,” Cantor said. “We told them that we would be a good, active member of the council even though we were not in agreement with the view that opposes creation.”
Last week, museum curator Jayson Payne received a call from the local PBS affiliate, KPBS, wanting to know his response to the council’s rejection of the museum. Payne, who had not been informed that a decision had been made, called the organization and was told by executive director Theresa Kosen that they would get an explanation by mail of why they were rejected.
Danielle Susalla Deery, president of the San Diego Museum Council, told KPBS that the museum’s animal care and protocol are not in line with their standards and that the museum has “a staff member on the board of directors and that’s not good governance.”
Cantor is perplexed by the accusations since the museum’s sponsoring organization, Scantibodies, possesses the highest certification of animal care available by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. In addition, Payne noted that it is common for organizations to have staff members on their boards.
“I hope that I am wrong and that there is not prejudice,” said Cantor. “I hope they do what they said they were going to do: send a letter with a list of deficiencies, written in such a way that is designed to fix them. We’ll get the list and we’ll fix it. We’ll write a response and reapply and see [what happens].”