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Water/Ways

SMITHSONIAN TRAVELING EXHIBITION EXPLORING WATER’S ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURAL IMPACT COMING TO FRANKLIN

From above, Earth appears as a water planet with more than 71 percent of its surface covered with this vital resource for life. Water impacts climate, agriculture, transportation, industry and more. It inspires art and music. The Macon County Public Library, in cooperation with North Carolina Humanities Council, will examine water as an environmental necessity and an important cultural element as it hosts “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. “Water/Ways” will be on view July 14 through August 24.

The Macon County Public Library and the surrounding community has been expressly chosen by the North Carolina Humanities Council to host “Water/Ways” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour six communities in North Carolina from July 14 ,2020 through April 25, 2021.

“Water/Ways” explores the endless motion of the water cycle, water’s effect on landscape, settlement and migration, and its impact on culture and spirituality. It looks at how political and economic planning have long been affected by access to water and control of water resources. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.

Fishing on the Chattahoochee River, Ga. Photo by Steve Harwood
Fishing on the Chattahoochee River, Ga.
Photo by Steve Harwood

Designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations, “Water/Ways” will serve as a community hub to inspire conversations about water’s impact on American culture. With the support and guidance of North Carolina Humanities Council, the Macon County Public Library is partnering with numerous local organizations and individuals. These groups are developing a film and photographic tour of the Little Tennessee and its watershed, virtual and in-person public programs and facilitating educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding about what water means culturally, socially and spiritually in their own community.

“We have a wonderful group of local partners helping us to safely engage with the community this summer. Because while we want to make the most of the six weeks that the Smithsonian exhibit is in Franklin, we also want to continue to support organizations like Macon County Schools STEM Program, GA/NC Bartram Trail Society, Friends of the Greenway (FROGS), Mainspring, and the Nikwasi Initiative that help us protect and enjoy our waterways now and in the future,” said Kristina Moe, Library Assistant at the Macon County Public Library. “We want to facilitate conversations about water and are developing local content and public programs to compliment the Smithsonian exhibition.” Such free events include documentary films, book discussions, and outdoor activities near the Little Tennessee River.

“Water/Ways” is part of the Smithsonian’s Think Water Initiative to raise awareness of water as a critical resource for life through exhibitions, educational resources and public programs. The public can participate in the conversation on social media at #thinkWater.

“Water/Ways” was inspired by an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul (www.smm.org), in collaboration with Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland; The Field Museum, Chicago; Instituto Sangari, Sao Paulo, Brazil; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; San Diego Natural History Museum; and Science Centre Singapore with PUB Singapore.

The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more about “Water/Ways” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit www.museumonmainstreet.org. Support for MoMS has been provided by the U.S. Congress.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.

For more information, visit fontanalib.org/water-ways or call the Macon County Public Library at (828) 524-3600. The Library is open by appointment Monday-Friday from 10:00am-5:00pm.

Water/Ways has been made possible in Macon County by the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Water/Ways was adapted from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul (www.smm.org), in collaboration with Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland; The Field Museum, Chicago; Instituto Sangari, Sao Paulo, Brazil; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; San Diego Natural History Museum; and Science Centre Singapore with PUB Singapore.