Smithsonian “Water/Ways” Traveling Exhibition

The Smithsonian Institution is coming to Dorchester County on October 19 through November 30 when its traveling “Water/Ways” exhibit will be on view at the Dorchester Center for the Arts in Cambridge.

Cambridge Main Street, the Dorchester Center for the Arts and Dorchester County Tourism, in cooperation with Maryland Humanities, collaborated with more than 20 Dorchester County partners for the exhibit and related programing. The exhibit, which examines water as an environmental necessity and an important cultural element, is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program.

Dorchester County also is developing a companion exhibit that will be on display with the Smithsonian exhibit. This complementary exhibit will interpret Dorchester’s own water story through the lenses of tradition, innovation and resiliency.

The Dorchester exhibit will showcase the cockpit of a powerboat racer, as well as a traditional oyster-shucking table and a piece of modern oyster aquaculture equipment. Interactive displays will include videos, interviews, hands-on activities, artifacts and items that exemplify the significant role that water has played in local history, culture, the economy and the environment, according to Julie Gilberto-Brady, manager of the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area.

“We’ve created a local companion exhibit featuring local people and their connections to the water,” Julie said. “We tell their stories with video, photography and hands-on activities. Visitors can sit in the cockpit of a racing powerboat or try their hand at oyster shucking.”

“In addition, a host of local partner organizations have been planning public events, activities, exhibits and programming tied to the “Water/Ways” exhibit. These include art exhibits, guided kayak river tours, skipjack sails, live music, storytelling, environmental talks, book groups and historical presentations.”

Cambridge and the surrounding community were expressly chosen by Maryland Humanities 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. The exhibition will tour six communities in Maryland that started in May and will continue through March 7, 2020.

“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.

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

In Dorchester County, “Water/Ways” will run from October 19 through November 30 at the Dorchester Center for the Arts, located at 321 High Street in Cambridge. It will be open on Sundays, from noon to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays through Thursdays, from noon to 6 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additional hours are available for school field trips and other groups by appointment; contact the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce at 410-228-3575. More information, including a full listing of local events and programming, is available on the Dorchester County “Water/Ways” website at www.visitdorchester.org/waterways.

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