HomeNewsWhat’s your water story? ‘We are Water MN’ exhibition comes to campus

What’s your water story? ‘We are Water MN’ exhibition comes to campus

This piece is adapted from a press release originally published by the Minnesota Humanities Center

Water is a vital part of Minnesota’s history, identity, and culture. In a state with more shoreline than Florida, Hawaii, and California combined, this connection to water, both culturally and literally, is vital. The Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and their statewide partners, along with the University of Minnesota, will honor this connection as they celebrate the grand opening of “We Are Water MN” on October 12. The popular statewide traveling exhibition will be on view at the Institute on the Environment through November 26.

“The University of Minnesota is proud to be the launch site for the 2018-19 round of ‘We Are Water’ exhibits and programming,” says Patrick Nunnally, coordinator of the Institute for Advanced Study’s River Life program. River Life and IonE, in collaboration with other campus partners, are co-hosting the exhibition on campus – including a range of additional activities and programs. “Through our strengths in water-related research, teaching, and programming, responsibility for water and hearing the absented narratives around water engage faculty and students across the full Twin Cities campus. The hosting partnership, between the Institute on the Environment and the Institute for Advanced Study, will be raising the level of awareness, collaboration, and campus/community inclusion to new levels that will extend far into the future.”

“We Are Water MN” 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 water for the future. Visitors reflect on local stories and the meaning and experiences of water in Minnesota with space to add their own stories. By creating relationships around water, we are creating networks that can promote positive social norms, and share a vision for, and participate in, water stewardship.

“In 2016 and 2017, MHC was honored to host the Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street exhibition, Water/Ways,” says Humanities Center President and CEO David O’Fallon. “During the planning and implementation of Water/Ways, MHC and their partners identified an opportunity to more fully tell the story of Minnesota’s relationship with water and developed an accompanying exhibit all about water, relationships, and the humanities in our great state. Thus, “We Are Water MN” was born. We are thrilled to be able to continue sharing this exhibit with the state. We thank the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and our partners for helping us host this one-of-a-kind exhibit and a grand opening ceremony.”

The October 12 celebration will be open to the public starting at 3 p.m., with speakers sharing water stories beginning at 4:00 p.m. (RSVP by October 8.) Guests are invited to stay after for a light reception and to see more of the exhibit.

In addition to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, the exhibition will tour seven other communities in Minnesota from through November 2, 2019. Host communities include: Bemidji, Crookston, Duluth, Austin, Northfield, Grand Rapids, and Onamia.

“We Are Water MN” is a partnership of MHC, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, The Minnesota Historical Society, and the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources and is supported by the Arts & Cultural Heritage Legacy Amendment from the state of Minnesota. More information about the exhibition can be found here.

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