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Coming to New York State
June 2019 - April 2020

A traveling exhibit designed by the
Smithsonian Institution's Museum on Main Street Program 

What is Water/Ways?

Water/Ways is an exhibition comprised of five easy-to-assemble, free-standing sections and two interactive kiosk monitors.

The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition is an exploration of the connections between human beings and water—focusing on the environment, culture, and history. 

New York State has more than 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, as well as portions of two of the five Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Long Island Sound. Over 70,000 miles of rivers and streams flow within our state’s geographical boundaries. These waterbodies supply our drinking water; provide flood control to protect life and property; support recreation, tourism, agriculture, fishing, power generation, and manufacturing; provide habitat for aquatic plant and animal life; and inspire the human imagination.

Water also played a practical role in our state’s history. The availability of water affected settlement and migration patterns of all of New York’s peoples as a source of food, livelihood, and transportation.

As we celebrate the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal, the Water/Ways exhibition will enable host sites to tell the story of how their communities helped New York become the Empire State, how canals and river communities played strategically important roles in the development of our transportation, trade, commerce, industry, and culture, and how our lake shores connect us to other states and our ocean front communities connect us to our nation and peoples around the globe.

Download the official New York State Water/Ways RFP here.

Read more about Water/Ways coming to New York here.

Financial support for the New York tour of Water/Ways has been provided, in part, by Hadley Exhibits.

Email Erika Sanger to inquire about other sponsorship opportunities.

Who can host Water/Ways?

Water/Ways will travel to six small to mid-sized museums for six weeks each.

Water/Ways can be hosted by museums located in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor with preference given to museums in the Western, Central, and Capital REDC regions, in the Hudson River National Heritage Areain Suffolk County and in any city that makes a strong case for the importance of water to its history and cultural heritage.

Potential host sites can download the application here. Each site will be judged on it's ability to mobilize the resources of both the museum and it's community in order to develop programming, events, and exhibitions around Water/Ways and the corresponding themes of water explored in the exhibit.

Exemplary applications will include...
  • Previous/current experience of community collaborations through exhibitions, school partnerships, and public programming
  • Previous/current experience developing exhibitions and programming that interpret the natural environment through the arts and humanities
  • Proven ability to care for an exhibition of this size
  • Plan to develop and implement at least four public events/programs that will highlight this exhibit

Tentative Tour Dates

Site 1 - June 29 (Saturday) - August 11 (Sunday)
Site 2 - August 17 (Saturday) - September 29 (Sunday)
Site 3 - October 5 (Saturday) - November 17 (Sunday)
Site 4 - November 23 (Saturday) - Jan 5 (Sunday)
Site 5 - January 11 (Saturday) - February 23 (Sunday)
Site 6 - February 29 (Saturday) - April 11 (Sunday)

Funding Opportunities 
Humanities New York has agreed to accept applications from selected host sites on their 2018/2019 scheduled deadlines for consideration for Water/Ways program funding. Visit their website here.

Download the Application
Due on August 10th

The Museum Association of New York strengthens the capacity of New York State’s cultural community by supporting professional standards and organizational development. We provide advocacy, training, and networking opportunities so that museums and museum professionals may better serve their missions and communities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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Troy, NY 12180 USA
518-273-3400

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