The newest traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian, Water/Ways, is now officially on display in Minnesota, having opened on June 25, at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer. Water/Ways focuses on the relationships between people and water and is brought to Minnesota through a partnership with the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program and the Minnesota Humanities Center. Minnesota is one of only five states chosen by the Smithsonian to launch this new traveling exhibit. Water/Ways reveals the central nature of water in our lives by exploring how Americans use water, how water unites communities, how water affects every element of life, and how Americans care for our water and protect this valuable resource for the future.
In Minnesota the Humanities Center leads a partnership consisting of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Department of Health, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Section of the American Water Works Association which has developed a complementary traveling exhibit that tells a Minnesota story-We Are Water MN. An interactive story collecting exhibit, We Are Water MN focuses on individuals’ relationships with and responsibilities to water while raising awareness about the quantity and quality of Minnesota’s water and connecting exhibit-goers to active water solutions. The exhibit includes stories from people reflecting on the meaning and experience of water in the state of Minnesota, stories from people local to a host site community, and space for visitors to the exhibit to add their own stories and images. Water/Ways will tour five other host communities through April 2017.