NAUVOO, Ill. -- On Monday, the culmination of Robert Wright's lifelong passion will come to fruition.
Wright, a former member of the U.S. Navy and a computer scientist, and his wife, Carol, will officially open The Flood Museum: Noah's World and the Global Flood to the public. The museum is located at the 1310 Knight St. and plans to be open for tours throughout the year. The hours for the museum are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the months of June, July and August. The museum will have reduced hours in the fall, only being open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday during the months of September, October and November. The remaining months of the year the museum will be open on Saturday only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"From the time I was a young man, I knew the Bible was true," said Robert Wright during a tour of the facility on Thursday. The husband and wife team have spent the last year converting the former private residence into a faith-based museum. "The Bible says it is a history of those times, so I have always been a bit curious about the times of the Bible."
That curiosity would later lead Wright to spend five years writing a book entitled, A Flood of Hope. Following the book's release, Wright said it was his wife who actually spurred him on into opening a museum.
"Not everyone will read the book, but we can still show them the truth," Wright said his wife told him at the time. The museum, Wright said, follows the structure of the book with rooms detailing life prior, during, and after the flood described in the biblical book of Genesis. Many of the museums rooms offer seating to allow museum patrons to view a brief professionally-made film.
Other rooms in the museum include a self-paced viewing of museum-grade reproductions of animal fossils, an art gallery consisting of art centered around themes in the Bible, and various reproduced religious items from around the world.
Despite the museum's close association with the Book of Genesis, Wright said the museum takes into account many narratives, including those of other faiths.
"The story of the flood belongs to all people," Wright said. "It is a story not just from the Christian faith, the Jewish faith, or even the Muslim faith. The great thing is that the central themes of the story are all the same no matter the culture. There are the eight people who are saved on a boat. There is a raven or some kind of bird that is prominent in every story. There's a lot of similarities."
Mark Stringer, who volunteers as a re-enactor of Noah at the museum, agreed with Wright, adding that the story of the flood is a worldwide story. Stringer will be on hand during special events at the museum or for large group tours.
Both men say they hope the museum will become a popular destination for area churches, school groups, or faith-based tourists coming to Nauvoo.
"We just hope that people come and that they have a good experience," Wright said. "We think this will be a good thing for Nauvoo and that it will help Nauvoo because it fits within the faith-based tourism that is already established here. The community has really embraced faith-based tourism."