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.
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. A summary of this exhibit is included in the We Are Water MN Interim Report
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
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
June 25-August 7, 2016
Nicollet County Historical Society
August 13-September 25, 2016
Goodhue County Historical Society
October 1-November 13, 2016
Audubon Center of the North Woods
November 19, 2016-January 1, 2017
January 7-February 19, 2017
Becker County Historical Society
February 25-April 9, 2017
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!
Students will learn about pollution through the scientific method. They will also learn about water as a finite resource that must be shared.
We Are Water
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.
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.
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:
national, state, and local histories and narratives
Minnesotans’ individual relationships
Minnesotans’ individual responsibilities
• Build relationships
between Minnesotans through community engagement events and activities preceding, during, and after the exhibit.