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Water/ways: A Smithsonian Exhibit

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Coming Feb. 24 - April 6, 2019 to the Jeanerette Museum!

River Steamboat, Fla., 1902
Library of Congress

From above, Earth appears as a water planet with more than 71 percent of its surface covered with this vital resource for life. Water impacts climate, agriculture, transportation, industry and more. It inspires art and music.

The Jeanerette Museum Board of Directors, in cooperation with Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), 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 Feb. 24 - April 6, 2019 at the Jeanerette Museum (500 E. Main St., Jeanerette, LA.).

The Jeanerette Museum and the surrounding community has been expressly chosen by the LEH 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.

“We are pleased to have been chosen as a host site for this important exhibit,” said Gail Garcia, local project director. “Our community understands the importance of water and preserving a way of life that has made our area what it is today. From sawmills, to sugar cane fields and fishing, our community depends on the waterways of Bayou Teche and the Atchafalaya basin.”

Waterways Smithsonian Exhibit Jeanerette Museum

“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 has 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.

Designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations, “Water/Ways” will serve as a place to begin conversations about water’s impact on American culture. With the support and guidance of state humanities councils, the Jeanerette Museum Board of Directors will develop a complementary exhibit, host public programs and facilitate educational initiatives to raise people’s understanding about what water means culturally, socially and spiritually in their own community.

“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,” Garcia said. “History talks, film viewings, and book discussions, oral history projects along with a variety of programs revolving around the theme of water have been developed for our community.”

The exhibit and related programming is being held free of charge to the public.

"Kayaker" by Eric Vance

Courtesy of US Environmental Protection Agency

“Water/Ways” is part of the Smithsonian’s Think Water Initiative to raise awareness of water as a critical resource for life through exhibitions, educational resources and public programs. The public can participate in the conversation on social media at #thinkWater.

“Water/Ways” was inspired by an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (, and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul (, 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 Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities made possible through funding from the Walton Family Foundation. This project is also sponsored by the Friends of Jeanerette Museum. To learn more about “Water/Ways” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit

For more information on the local exhibit and coordinating projects, visit, email or follow the museum on Facebook.