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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Compared with the $27 million (13.6 million pounds) Creation Museum that just opened its doors in Kentucky, Canada's first museum dedicated to explaining geology, evolution and paleontology in biblical terms is a decidedly more modest affair.
The Big Valley Creation Science Museum, which opens next week, was built for C$300,000 in the village Big Valley, Alberta, population 308, a two-hour drive northeast of Calgary.
The Canadian museum features displays on how men once walked among dinosaurs, a giant model of Noah's Ark, a set of English scrolls tracing the family of King Henry VI back to the Garden of Eden, and an interactive bacterial flagellum.
The aim is to contest the widely accepted view that the Earth is billions of years old and its flora and fauna, including humans, evolve. The museum, like its peers in the United States, relies on Genesis, the biblical explanation of creation, to explain fossils, geology and humanity's origins.
"We believe the Bible to be true," said Harry Nibourg, the owner of the museum. "We believe evolution fails the facts."
Aside from a some travelling shows and a handful of homemade displays, the Big Valley museum is unique in Canada, Nibourg said.
But it joins other creationist institutions in the United States, including the Kentucky museum opened this weekend. One Web site lists a few dozen scattered throughout the United States and one in Germany.
The opening of the Petersburg, Kentucky, museum has attracted the ire of scientists and moderate Christians who object to a museum that teaches that the Earth is 6,000 years old.
The Big Valley museum has been more low key, with a few stories in local newspapers discussing the facility. But the impending opening has been noted by one of the world's premiere museums of paleontology, the Royal Tyrrell, which lies in the fossil-rich Alberta badlands near Drumheller, a 40-minute drive south of Big Valley.
Andy Neuman, acting director of the Royal Tyrell, said his museum prefers to rely on more mainstream science to interpret fossils. The Tyrell, which averages about 375,000 visitors a year, doesn't expect the Big Valley museum to take a away many customers.
"I think we attract a bit of a different audience," he said.