A Smithsonian traveling exhibition on all things water in America, titled Water/Ways, opens September 3, 2016 and runs until October 16, 2016 at Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH) at Idaho State University (ISU).
The exhibit will visit five other Idaho locations: the Idaho Falls Public Library, The Sun Valley Museum of History (Ketchum), Nampa Public Library, The Third Street Galley in collaboration with the Latah County Historical Society (Moscow) and the Burley Public Library, and will end its Idaho tour in March 2017.
While on display educational programming is planned, including lectures, a movie screening with panel discussion, a fish hatchery tour, Edson Fichter park clean-up, and a recycle art sculpture competition.
The exhibition explores water as a critical scientific and cultural resource. An essential component of life on our planet, water powers the environment’s engine, impacting climate and helping to shape and sculpt the landscape. Water’s impact on humans is not just biological and environmental; it serves as a source of peace and contemplation. We cherish our connections to nature, particularly the sights, the sounds, and the sense of place we feel at the water’s edge.
Many faiths revere water as a sacred symbol. Authors and artists are inspired by the duality of water – a substance that is seemingly soft and graceful, yet also a powerful and often unstoppable force.
The availability of water affects 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.
Water/Ways is part of the Smithsonian’s “Museum on Main Street” program, an exhibition program that was developed to bring exhibitions primarily to smaller communities in America that would not ordinarily have the opportunity to host such an exhibit. The Idaho Humanities Council has brought Smithsonian exhibitions to Idaho over the past fifteen years, including exhibitions on American roots music, food and culture, the history of American labor, yesterday’s visions of the future, sports history, barn architecture, the meaning of fences and borders, and more.