Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition

From above, Earth appears as a water planet with more than 71% of its surface covered with this vital resource for life. Water impacts climate, agriculture, transportation, industry and more. It inspires art and music. The Old Courthouse Heritage Museum, in cooperation with the Florida Humanities, will examine water as an environmental necessity and an important cultural element as it hosts “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. “Water/Ways” will be on view Saturday, June 26, through Saturday, August 21.

The Old Courthouse Heritage Museum and the surrounding community has been expressly chosen by the Florida Humanities to host “Water/Ways” as part of the MoMS program — a national, state and local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. The exhibition will tour seven communities in Florida starting here in Citrus County.

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A grand opening event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 26. In partnership with the City of Inverness and other county and state agencies, there will be programs, activities, games and more at the museum as well as at the Valerie Theatre across the street.

“Water/Ways” explores the endless motion of the water cycle, water’s effect on landscape, settlement and migration, and its impact on culture and spirituality. It looks at how political and economic planning have long been affected by access to water and control of water resources. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.

“Water is an important part of everyone’s life, and we are excited to explore what it means culturally, socially, and spiritually in our own community,” said Kathy Turner Thompson, Historical Resources Manager. “We want to convene conversations about water and have developed local exhibitions and public programs to compliment the Smithsonian exhibition.” Such free events include a scholarly speaker series and the development on a local exhibition on these themes of Water/Ways and how it relates to our unique community.

“Water/Ways” was inspired by an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul (www.smm.org), 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.

The exhibition is part of MoMS, 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 MoMS exhibitions, visit www.museumonmainstreet.org.

Support for MoMS has been provided by the U.S. Congress.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 65 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.

For more information, call Citrus County Historical Resources at 352-341-6428.

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