The OEA Museum
Memento Park in Hungary sparked poignant thoughts about how future museums might display our world.
Some years ago, on the Buda side of Budapest, I took my daughters to a fascinating open-air museum.
It is called Memento Park, and it showcases monumental statues and plaques from the period when Hungary was ruled by a puppet communist regime under the boot of the Soviet Union. The giant statues, spread around the city, were meant to inspire awe among workers and indoctrinate loyalty to the dictatorship. In the end, they became despised symbols of lies, fear and domination.
So when the regime fell in 1989 many of the statues were immediately removed. On the second anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops, Memento Park was opened. It serves as a visual reminder of the oppressive thought control practiced during those dark years, illuminating the freedom that followed.
Walking among the statues was eerie; I could feel the fear and loathing they instilled. Thankfully the Soviet age is over now, though of course true and complete freedom is not yet.
I wondered as I wandered, what might be in a future museum devoted to what the Bible calls “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4)? What would a tour guide explain to amazed and appalled visitors?
Guided tour of the OEA Museum
“Please step this way into the first exhibit area, about war. Notice all this machinery designed to kill enemies. Here is a machine gun, there is a tank and this was napalm used to burn soldiers alive. This single bomb could vaporize hundreds of thousands of enemies in a moment.
“What’s an enemy? That was a person who hated or feared someone so strongly that he or she felt justified in killing the other person. Yes, I know; how could anyone?
“Here is our exhibit about corruption in government. Some places were worse than others, of course, but it existed everywhere in the old evil world: leaders in positions of trust, who lied, cheated and stole for personal advantage.
“In this room you can track rates of violent crime through the 6,000 years: robbery, rape, murder and more; starting with Cain, all the way to the return of Christ. There was so much selfishness and hatred!
“This exhibit shows how dysfunctional families often were. Most people ignored God’s instructions about family life, so there was rampant infidelity. There were even certain diseases transmitted to millions through illicit sex. Read this definition of a registered sex offender—shocking! Yes, a registry! Young children were beaten by their parents, and parents abused each other. Take the time to consider these statistics and stories; they’re heartrending.
“This black wall represents the powerful fallen angel who constantly tempted people to sin. He has been in the abyss of restraint now for generations, thanks be to God.
“There’s a lot more to see; don’t miss the rooms on religious deception. I’m sure you’ll find the rest of the Old Evil Age Museum thought-provoking if often gut-wrenching.”
A future righteous age
I believe there will be such museums in the world to come. Now we live in the middle of the evils of the age of man. The time will come when people will visit such museums for a few hours to contemplate the distant memory of the ills of our present world, then thankfully go home in a peaceful age guided by the Spirit and will of their perfect Creator.