The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition dives into water—an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically.

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As part of its next thematic initiative exploring Hoosiers’ relationships with their environments, Indiana Humanities will sponsor a tour of the Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition.

Six communities have been selected to host the exhibit for six weeks each, and will receive extensive training, funding and other resources from the expert staffs of the Smithsonian and Indiana Humanities. Each of the six hosts will also curate a unique section of the exhibit that explores their community’s relationship to water. 

Water/Ways has been made possible in Indiana by Indiana Humanities. Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. The Museum on Main Street program works with rural communities to design and host high-quality exhibits and create dynamic public programs across the United States. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. Indiana Humanities is proud to bring this award-winning program to six sites in Indiana over the next two years.  

Water/Ways was adapted from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, 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.


About the Exhibition

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.

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2021-2022 TOUR DATES

As part of the Indiana tour, Water/Ways will visit the following communities during 2021 – 2022.

North Webster Public Library (North Webster): June 26, 2021 – August 8, 2021

La Porte County Soil and Water Conversation District (Rolling Prairie): August 14, 2021 – September 26, 2021

University of Southern Indiana/Historic New Harmony (New Harmony): October 2, 2021 – November 14, 2021

Riverscape/Wabash River Development Beautification, Inc. (West Terre Haute): November 20, 2021 – December 30, 2021

Jefferson County Public Library (Madison): January 8, 2022 – February 20, 2022

Cope Environmental Center (Centerville): February 26, 2022 – April 10, 2022


The six sites selected to host the exhibit receive:

  • Free rental of Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibit 
  • Exhibit support manual, program guide and curriculum materials 
  • Assistance in exhibition and program planning from Smithsonian and Indiana Humanities team members, as well as consultants  
  • Publicity materials such as posters, brochures, a media kit, etc. 
  • $2,000 in funding from Indiana Humanities to develop the local companion exhibit, for events and to spread the word 
  • One talk by an expert from a speakers bureau curated by Indiana Humanities 
  • Statewide publicity and promotion 

The six sites selected to host the exhibit agree to:

  • Pay a one-time $200 fee to offset shipping costs 
  • Assign a project director for the exhibit who will attend two statewide planning meetings and coordinate the project from beginning to end 
  • Implement publicity in the local community and region in coordination with Indiana Humanities 
  • Produce a local companion exhibit and host at least three public humanities programs related to the exhibit themes 
  • Host a grand opening/ribbon cutting and invite public officials, media, legislators and others 
  • Provide a final budget and cost share report tracking all staff and volunteer time, facility expenses and other donated resources 
  • Provide a secure, dry space to store empty exhibit crates for the duration of the exhibition 
  • Contribute hard work and cover additional out-of-pocket expenses beyond $2,000 as needed 




Contact Megan Telligman, Senior Program Manager
Mtelligman@indianahumanities.org | 317.616.9409