Our Stories, Our Lives

Water/Ways is a unique exhibit that explores the essential role that water plays in our environment and society. Throughout the globe, water holds extensive cultural value as a symbol of power and force, grace and fluidity, and healing and cleansing. Water is also a natural resource that has dictated migration patterns, affected economic prosperity, and shaped communities throughout time, and continues to be one of Earth’s most defining resources. Here in Michigan, the value of water as both a human resource and a cultural symbol is both understood and treasured, and we are thrilled to be bringing this exhibit to the Great Lakes state.

“Water and its story in Michigan is a fascinating theme, and we are delighted to work with six sites to bring to life the Smithsonian Exhibit Water/Ways,” said Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki, Executive Director of Michigan Humanities Council.  “This exhibit and the programs that go with it will explore how water plays such a role in all our lives in Michigan.”

Host sites will complement the exhibit with public programming focused on the local history of water for each area. This may include development of an additional exhibit, discussion programs or community-based documentaries. The Michigan Humanities Council supports host communities with grant funds, program planning workshops and tour logistics.

A statewide Great Lakes-specific exhibit will also travel to each host location, as part of The Great Lakes Water Heritage Project, offered by The Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Humanities Council, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Kalamazoo Nature Center, and Michigan State University. It will feature regional and local Great Lakes history, facts, and simple ways for people to be everyday water stewards. A grant from The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation to Michigan Humanities Council will support 3 years of funding for this portion of the program.

The Water/Ways exhibit will begin travel in June 2018 and close in April 2019, stopping at each site for a six-week period. Water/Ways is funded by Michigan Humanities Council and The National Endowment for the Humanities, and sponsored by WATTS.

The six host sites and dates of the exhibit are:

  • Beaver Island (North) Charlevoix County
    Venue: Beaver Island Historical Society
    June 23 – August 5, 2018
  • East Jordan (North) Charlevoix County
    Venue: Raven Hill Discovery Center
    August 11 – September 23, 2018
  • Big Rapids (West Central) Mecosta County
    Venue: Artworks
    September 29 – November 11, 2018
  • Harrisville (East Central) Alcona County
    Venue: Alcona Public Library
    November 17 – December 30, 2018
  • Niles (Southwest) Berrien County
    Venue: Niles Public Library
    January 5 – February 17, 2019
  • Owosso (East Central) Shiawassee County
    Venue: Shiawassee Arts Center
    February 23 – April 7, 2019

 

 

For more information on this traveling exhibition, visit the Museum on Main Street website.

Credits

Water/Ways is made possible in Michigan by the Michigan Humanities Council. Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils across the country. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

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Made possible through the generous support of:

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