Smithsonian Exhibit Water/Ways Opens at the McClellanville Arts Council

South Carolina Humanities, in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum on Main Street program, is pleased to present the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Water/Ways in South Carolina. The exhibition dives into water–an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically. The exhibit will open at its fifth venue in South Carolina at the McClellanville Arts Council on Monday, January 18 and will be on display there through March 1, 2021. Entrance to the exhibit is free.

Water is life. It forms our world and our lives. It allows us to travel; and it blocks our paths. It is crucial in determining where we live and work and what we eat and drink. It is an essential biological and natural resource that people struggle to access and control. Water shapes human culture — our ways of life. It is central to many rituals and ceremonies around the world. It inspires art and music. The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibit explores our relationship to water and how all of these factors play out in our world.

Dr. Randy Akers, Executive Director of SC Humanities, said: “SC Humanities is delighted to be sponsoring the Smithsonian traveling exhibit Water/Ways throughout the state.   It would be hard to find a topic more central to South Carolina.   Beyond the obvious fact that water is crucial for human existence, water plays a dominant role in the environmental, cultural, economic and historical fabric of South Carolina.”

The exhibit will be open at McClellanville Arts Council on Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Tours for school or senior groups can be made by appointment. Contact 843-887-3157.

In addition to the Water/Ways Smithsonian exhibit, McClellanville Arts Council will host the Communal Pen writing workshop on February 20 and February 27.

Other projects include a collection of writing interpretations for “What Water Means to Me” from St. James Santee Elementary-Middle School as well a couple of one act plays from local community members. On Saturday, February 20, these materials will be on view at the “Chalk Walk,” scheduled for 11:00 am, all outdoors and safely spaced. Chalk murals will be made in real time by kids and their families while the writings and plays are read aloud. Family and community fun for ALL! 

SC Humanities advises that the following safety precautions be taken when visiting the exhibit: 1) masks are required at the McClellanville Arts Council; 2) please sanitize hands 3) the number of guests entering the McClellanville Arts Council might be limited; 4) Practice social distancing, 6 feet apart please; 5) If you’re not feeling well, stay home for the safety of all.

After Water/Ways closes at McClellanville Arts Council, it will travel to one other venue in South Carolina: the Historic Railway Depot in Westminster (March 6 – April 17, 2021). Previously, it was on display at Hickory Knob State Park in McCormick County (June 27 – August 8, 2020), the Hampton County Library with the support of the Hampton County Historical Society (August 14 – September 23, 2020), the SC Maritime Museum in Georgetown (September 28 – November 8, 2020), and Congaree National Park (November 13, 2020 – January 13, 2021).

Water/Ways has been made possible in South Carolina by South Carolina Humanities. The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress. Support for the South Carolina tour of Water/Ways has been provided by Dominion Energy.

Image: Courtesy of Bernadette Humphrey