Smithsonian’s Water-Ways Exhibit Program Coming to NYS

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Water/Ways Video Kiosk in Sanibel, FloridaThe Museum Association of New York (MANY) has announced that it will be the organizational partner for the state-wide tour of the Smithsonian Institutions’ Museum on Main Street Water/Ways exhibition.

Water/Ways will travel to six small- to mid-sized museums for six weeks each between June of 2019 and April of 2020. Three museums along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will be selected. The fourth site will be located in the Hudson River National Heritage Area, the fifth in Suffolk County, and the sixth location will be any New York museum that makes a strong case for the importance of water to its history and cultural heritage.

Sites are expected to be selected through an application process with successful applicants having a proven track record of community collaborations, the ability to care for the exhibition, commit to plan and implement public programs, and experience developing exhibitions that interpret the natural environment through the arts and humanities.

The exhibition is comprised of five easy-to-assemble, free-standing sections and two interactive kiosk monitors. Museums will be required to contribute between $250 and $500 on a sliding scale by budget size, cover the cost of shipping the exhibition to the next host site (currently estimated between $2,500-$3,000), meet space and security requirements, and comply with the ADA. Water|Ways requires a minimum of 800 sq ft, 8.5 ft ceiling height, and electricity. Museums will also be required send two staff members to attend training workshops in December 2018 and spring of 2019 (dates and locations to be determined). Additional information and a sneak-peak video about the exhibition can be found here.

MANY will cover exhibition rental costs, deliver training and capacity building workshops with Smithsonian staff, and provide promotional materials (banners, posters, postcards, docent handbooks, teacher resources, press kits) with partial project support by Hadley Exhibits, Inc. MANY is seeking additional sponsors and funding sources to help support programs and community-based exhibitions that share all of New York’s water stories.

Interested museums should send an email to Erika Sanger at by 5 pm on July 13 with “Interested in Water/Ways” as the subject line.  She will reply with the RFP and application attached. Applications are due by 5 pm on August 10 and selected museums will be notified on August 24.

Photo of Water/Ways Video Kiosk in Sanibel, Florida provided by Smithonian Institution.

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