Man who designed the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum attractions in Kentucky dies at 77

Ark Encounter
The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. This photo of the life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark was provided in May 2019. |

The man who helped design the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum attractions in Kentucky, whose craftsmanship helped unveil the refurbished Statue of Liberty in 1986, died last Thursday at 77.

At the time of his death, Patrick Marsh was vice president since 2001 of attractions design for the Young Earth creationist apologetics organization Answers in Genesis — which spearheaded the building and operating of both the museum and amusement park in Northern Kentucky. 

Answers in Genesis did not disclose how he died in its announcement of Marsh’s death. 

Patrick Marsh
Patrick Marsh |

First opened in 2016, the Ark Encounter is a life-size Noah’s Ark model in Williamstown with dimensions given in the Genesis narrative. According to the museum’s website, the attraction spans 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high.

The Creation Museum, a 75,000-square-foot facility located about an hour’s drive south in Petersburg, was established in 2007. The museum allows attendees to venture through biblical history. The museum offers artistic creations, botanical gardens, a planetarium, zoo, zipline, adventure course and more. 

“Patrick’s fingerprints are all over the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter,” Answers in Genesis founder and prominent Young Earth apologist Ken Ham said in a statement. “I have never worked with a more creative person. Calling him a ‘genius’ is not an overstatement. I will miss him dearly, not only as a colleague, but as a friend.”

A USA Today readers’ poll chose the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum as America’s top two faith-based attractions in 2019.

Throughout Marsh’s career as an artist, he also made widely recognized artistic designs, such as the popularized “Jaws” and “King Kong” attractions at Universal Studios in Florida and the coordination of 50 designers for the grounds of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. 

Before his death, Marsh oversaw the complete renovation of the museum’s grand Palm Plaza section, which incorporates a pro-life exhibit titled “Fearfully” and “Wonderfully Made.” He has also worked on new additions to both museums.

Marsh, who earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial design and his master’s degree in environmental design from the University of California, Los Angeles, also served as the director of design for Dream Makers in Japan.

In that position, he was responsible for the concept design of various theme parks in Asia.

“At AiG, Patrick was able to attract, build, and mentor a phenomenal team of talented younger-generation designers and artists,” Ham added. “Although Patrick can never be replaced, the team that was built under his leadership is ready to carry on his legacy.”

Marsh leaves behind his wife, Sakae, whom he met and married in Japan. 

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