LANESBORO, MN— Water is a vital part of the history, identity, and culture of Lanesboro. Lanesboro Arts, Commonweal Theatre, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, the Lanesboro Museum, and Friends of the Root River, in cooperation with the Minnesota Humanities Center, will celebrate this connection as it hosts Water/Ways, a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program. Water/Ways is on view in the events hall at Commonweal Theatre now through February 19, 2017.
Water/Ways reveals the central nature of water in our lives by exploring how we relate to water—how we use water, how water unites communities, how water affects every element of life, and how we care for our water and protect this valuable resource for the future.
We Are Water MN, an interactive story collection exhibit developed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Humanities Center and other state partners, will also be on display at Commonweal Theater alongside Water/Ways. We Are Water MN 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.
A project that has been in the works since the spring of 2015, various Lanesboro nonprofits and community groups are offering a series of diverse local programs and exhibits about water in conjunction with Water/Ways exhibit in Lanesboro.
“The Humanities Center and our state partners felt it was essential to highlight Minnesota’s unique position as the headwaters of three major U.S. watersheds and the deep relationships that people in this place enjoy with water. We are pleased to be working with Lanesboro Arts, Commonweal Theatre, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, the Lanesboro Museum, and Friends of the Root River to help develop local exhibitions and public programs that tell the story of water in the Root River watershed. The Smithsonian exhibit will provide an exciting springboard for all of the exhibits and activities planned here,” said David O’Fallon, President of the Minnesota Humanities Center.
“The process of organizing and planning for Lanesboro’s six weeks as a Water/Ways host site has been an incredibly rewarding and inspiring exercise in community building,” shared Adam Wiltgen, program director at Lanesboro Arts. “A town of 754 people could not host a Smithsonian exhibition without working closely together. And because of the unique cross-sector collaborations that are taking place, the many local programs and events developed in Lanesboro will utilize the arts and the humanities–individual human stories and experiences–to make complex, varying, and, at times, divisive water issues more relevant and accessible by focusing on how we are connected,” added Wiltgen.
The Water/Ways exhibit includes many community events and activities. For complete details on Water/Ways events and programming in Lanesboro, visit http://lanesboroarts.org/waterways.
Lanesboro and the surrounding community have been expressly chosen by the Minnesota Humanities Center 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 is touring six communities in Minnesota from June 25, 2016 through April 9, 2017. More information about the exhibition in Minnesota can be found at http://mnhum.org/waterways.
Water/Ways 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 Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. Support for local programs and companion exhibits in Lanesboro has been provided by POET biofining, Lanesboro American Legion Post #40, Bolton & Menk, Davies Printing, Stone Mill Suites, High Court Pub, and the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington D.C. for more than 60 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.