Published Wednesday, 26 May 2010
The DUP minister wrote a letter to the museum's board of trustees urging them to consider "how alternative views on the origin of the universe and the origin of life can be recognised and accommodate in national museums".
"It was a request to the trustees asking is there any way in which you can reflect or accommodate the fact that here, in Northern Ireland, a third of the population would believe in either creation or intelligent design," Mr McCausland told UTV.
In his letter to the museum's trustees, Mr McCausland said he had "a common desire to ensure that museums are reflective of the views, beliefs and cultural traditions that make up society in Northern Ireland", including creationism, the Ulster-Scots and the Orange Order.
National Museums Northern Ireland has confirmed it received the letter and will give it appropriate consideration.
A spokesperson said: "I can confirm that the Board of Trustees for National Museums Northern Ireland has received a letter from Culture Minister Nelson McCausland and will give it appropriate consideration."
But critics say the minister had no right to interfere with the independence of museums.
Sinn Fein said Mr McCausland's letter was "wholly improper and wrong".
"Mr McCausland's letter amounts to undue political interference in the running of our museums, including the Ulster Museum", the Sinn Fein chair of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee, Barry McElduff, told UTV.
"It is wholly improper and wrong. It's unacceptable that a minister would engage in this type of political interference."
Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said: "I have been working in museums over 20 years and I can't recall in the UK an example of such blatant political interference."
Brian Mc Clinton, from the Humanist Association NI, also told UTV: "I think the government has no right to interfere with the independence of a scientifically based organisation."
DUP representatives have been at the forefront of campaigns to promote anti-Darwinian theories.
Last year, McCausland's party colleague and North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey raised objections to notices at the Giant's Causeway informing the public that the rock formation was about 550 million years old, as, according to the Bible, the earth was created only several thousand years before Christ's birth.
Earlier this month the Ulster Museum was shortlisted for the UK's largest single arts prize. The Art Fund Prize annually awards £100,000 to a museum or gallery for a project completed in the last year.
(The poll was removed on Thursday at 3pm due to obvious irregularities in the voting pattern. The irregularities were the result of a malicious spam attack which threatened site security. As a result, the poll had to be removed.)
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