The Palestine Exploration Fund

Search the PEF

Forthcoming events

LECTURE 19th April 2018: Holy Lands and Theme Parks: religious visitor attractions worldwide

Crispin Paine, PEF Grant Scholar



4pm, 19th April 2018, BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum

Tickets are available through the British Museum 1 month - 2 weeks before the lecture. To book, contact the British Museum Box Office:  020 7323 8181 or     and go to the 'What's On' option at the top of the BM homepage. Then choose the 'Events Calendar'  and scroll down the page to see events listed by date and time.  If the event is not yet listed, please try again at a later date.


Poster Lecture April 19th 2018.pdf

C. Paine at 'Ark Encounter'%2C Kentucky. Photo by James Bielo

Crispin Paine at ‘Ark Encounter’, Kentucky. This huge visitor attraction was opened this year by ‘Answers in Genesis’, a Young-Earth Creationist group also responsible for the Creation Museum. Photo: James Bielo

As a burgeoning middle class seeks out modernity and fun as well as education and divine help, theme-parks are taking over much of the role of museums and much of the role of temples. This short talk will report on a project to examine religion in visitor attractions world-wide.
Religion appears in many thousands of theme-parks throughout the world. 'Religion parks', especially in India and the USA, are set up by religious groups to promote their faith. Examples are the Evangelical Christian Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, and the Swaminarayan Hindu Akshardham in New Delhi. Religion also features strongly in cultural parks, both those themed (often nostalgically) on local culture, and those themed on 'exotic' foreign cultures. Such parks are common in China, Japan and South East Asia. Examples include the Buddhist Suoi Tien in Saigon and the Mormon Polynesia Park in Honolulu. Crispin shall look particularly at Bible-based attractions in the US, which PEF recently enabled him to study.
He shall touch on the underlying political agenda of many parks, the relationship of cultural parks to museums, the themes common to parks East and West (heaven and hell, the 'Holy Land', gods and monsters, religious leaders), the business context, and the impact on visitors.


Palestine Exploration Fund, 5-6 Dreadnought Walk, Greenwich, London SE10 9FP.
Tel: +44 (0) 207 935 5379, Fax: + 44 (0) 207 485 7438 | Email:
Registered company: 13606 | Registered charity: 212538
Our privacy policy