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Water/Ways Traveling Exhibition Coming to Minnesota

by , posted on 8:37 PM, October 20, 2016

Water/Ways is a traveling exhibition and community engagement initiative of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program. In Minnesota, Water/Ways is led by the Minnesota Humanities Center in partnership with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota section of the American Water Works Association, and six greater Minnesota communities.

Traveling Exhibition

We Are Water MN, a companion exhibit that was developed with statewide partners, tells the Minnesota water story. We Are Water MN is an interactive story collecting exhibit that focuses on individuals’ relationships with and responsibilities to water. The exhibit includes stories from people reflecting on the meaning and experience of water in Minnesota, stories from local people from each host site community, and space for exhibit visitors to add their own stories and images. We Are Water MN also raises awareness about the quantity and quality of Minnesota’s water, connecting exhibit-goers to active water solutions.

Story Maps

Check out the stories collected before and during each site on these story maps: Stories that were collected by interviewers are uploaded in advance of the exhibit. Stories submitted by visitors to the exhibit and online will be uploaded after the exhibit closes at each host site.

Your Water Story

Be a part of the We Are Water MN conversation!

Add your story to the map and to the Smithsonian’s collection.

Follow We Are Water MN on Facebook and Twitter.

Your water picture is worth 1,000 words (or some other cool prizes)! Enter our Instagram contest!

Contest Rules and Details

Host Communities

Each host community is developing an exhibit that tells their local story and hosting community events in partnership with other local organizations.

Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center
Spicer/New London
June 25-August 7, 2016

Nicollet County Historical Society
St. Peter
August 13-September 25, 2016

Goodhue County Historical Society
Red Wing
October 1-November 13, 2016

Audubon Center of the North Woods
November 19, 2016-January 1, 2017

Lanesboro Arts
January 7-February 19, 2017

Becker County Historical Society
Detroit Lakes
February 25-April 9, 2017

Educator Resources

Educators are encouraged to bring their students to Water/Ways!

Can’t make the trip? Here are some educational materials to bring Water/Ways programming to you! Educator Resources provide background information, lesson planning, and teaching guides about the exhibit. These guides help students gain appreciation of other cultures’ relationships with water, understand how water is a shared, managed resource, and allow students to share their own water stories—all through activities, projects and investigations!  

One Drop
Students will learn about pollution through the scientific method. They will also learn about water as a finite resource that must be shared.

Water Journeys
Students will learn about relationships with water through a Dakota creation story and their own personal stories. They will also create a watershed model that shows how water moves from place to place.

We Are Water
Students will learn about point of view and absent narratives. They will also learn how to create their own community water story.  

Community Stewardship Activity
Students will learn how to put their learning into action by hosting a water fair.

Project Goals

The Humanities Center, its partners, and project host sites will ensure that visitors to Water/Ways will understand their reciprocal relationship with water by carrying out the four project goals:

Share national, state, and local histories and narratives about water.

Reinforce Minnesotans’ individual relationships with water.

Reinforce Minnesotans’ individual responsibilities to water.

Build relationships between Minnesotans through community engagement events and activities preceding, during, and after the exhibit.


Federal Partners


State Partners




Media Sponsor