“Most of the water in Minnesota arrives here in clouds and falls as snow or rain. We have a privilege of abundant and high quality water; as well as a responsibility for protecting and conserving the water as it flows through and out of our state.” – We are Water MN
A traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian focuses on the relationship between culture and water, exploring the central nature of water in our lives. As this exhibit moves through the US, it is shaped and reshaped by the communities it appears in. The opening quote here is from the Minnesota retelling of this story. Overall, the goal of the exhibit is to serve as a community meeting place to convene conversations on water. The Smithsonian describes it as:
“The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition dives into water--an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically. In societies across the globe, water serves as a source of peace and contemplation. Many faiths revere water as a sacred symbol. Authors and artists are inspired by the complex character of water – a substance that is seemingly soft and graceful that is yet a powerful and nearly unstoppable force. Water also plays a practical role in American society. The availability of water affected settlement and migration patterns. Access to water and control of water resources have long been a central part of political and economic planning. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.
Thanks to LWV Winona’s Lynn Theurer for this reporting – she visited the exhibit when it was in southern Minnesota.
The Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit WaterWays is now appearing in two parts of UMRR-land. You can see it in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota at the Becker County Historical Society until April 9, and in Channahon, Illinois at the Four Rivers Environmental Education Center until March 11.