Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit on its way to Arizona communities

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Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit on its way to Arizona communities
February 15, 2018

ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City to host discussion of traveling exhibition

DCDC’s WaterSim Arizona exhibit to share stage with Water/Ways

A traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program entitled Water/Ways will tour Arizona communities over a nearly two-year period starting in June.

The exhibition, as well as companion programming, features community water stories and examines water as an environmental and cultural element. The exhibition is designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations and will serve as a place to convene community conversations about water’s impact on American culture.



Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City will host a discussion of the exhibition – as well as its companion exhibit produced by the DCDC, entitled WaterSim Arizona, which will tour along with Water/Ways. The discussion will be at the DCDC office in Tempe on Wednesday, February 20, starting at 12 noon.

See the DCDC event registration page for more information.

The Water/Ways exhibition arrives in June in Bisbee and will travel to the twelve sites in Arizona over a two-year period.

Each site will host the Water/Ways exhibit for six weeks at a time. Arizona Humanities and Arizona State University will be working with each site individually and as a group for teacher-training, developing programming, and more.

The WaterSim America , an exhibit within the national tour of Water/Ways, will make its Arizona debut as WaterSim Arizona, a water balance systems model for five regions of our state. WaterSim Arizona will be both an exhibit within Water/Ways and offered to teachers as a tool for students to use in the classroom.

DCDC worked in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution’s “Museum on Main Street” team to create interactive elements of WaterSim America, exploring water issues on a state level.

As a result, it provides an interactive “game” of water balancing showing the public the dynamics of water management.

WaterSim America has been an exhibit within the national tour of the Water/Ways exhibition since June 2016.

Overall, the tour will visit 23 states and Guam, focusing on rural communities with populations under 20,000.

DCDC will host teacher training on WaterSim Arizona and WaterStories in the site communities. That effort is supported by a grant from the Ellis Center for Educational Excellence of the Arizona Community Foundation.

As described by Arizona Humanities, Water/Ways “explores the endless motion of the water cycle, its effect on landscape, settlement and migration, and its impact on culture and spirituality.

“It looks at political and economic efforts to ensure access to water, and explores how human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways to protect water resources and renew our relationship with the natural environment.”

Designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations, Water/Ways will serve as a community meeting place to convene conversations about water’s impact on American culture.

Towns will develop complementary exhibits, host public programs, and facilitate educational initiatives to deepen people’s understanding about what water means culturally, socially and spiritually in their own community.

Water/Ways has been made possible in Arizona by Arizona Humanities, the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives and School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University.

Support for the WaterSim Arizona classroom version comes from the National Science Foundation and the Arizona Community Foundation.

A list of the exhibition’s host sites in Arizona can be found here at the Arizona Humanities website.


A discussion of Water/Ways and WaterSim Arizona

Where: Decision Center for a Desert City; 21 E. 6th Street, Ste 126B; Tempe

When: Tuesday, February 20, 12 noon – 1:30 pm

How to Register: Click here