October 15th, 2020
Exhibit Opens at Blue Earth County Historical Society on October 22, 2020
Mankato – The Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) and the Blue Earth County Historical Society are pleased to announce that the traveling exhibition—We Are Water MN—will open in Mankato on Thursday, October 22, 2020, by appointment only. We Are Water MN is a project of the Humanities Center that engages Minnesotans with our state’s most important natural resource through personal stories, historical content, and scientific information. Thanks to a partnership with the Blue Earth County Historical Society, We Are Water MN will be on display at the Blue Earth County Historical Society in Mankato from October 22 through December 18, 2020.
“We Are Water Minnesota will give the community a public space to share their firsthand experience of the power and importance of water by giving them a place to share their local water stories,” said Shelley Harrison, BECHS Curator/Archivist at the Blue Earth County Historical Society. “Visitors will also have the opportunity to examine the biological, social, and economic aspects of water, right here in their own backyards.”
The following additional partners will host the We Are Water MN traveling exhibit in their communities:
- Hmong Museum; Venue: TBD, St. Paul, MN; January 7 – March 8, 2021
- City of Rochester; Venue: TBD, Rochester, MN; March 11 – May 10, 2021
- North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District; Venue: Minnesota Discovery Center, Chisholm, MN; May 13 – July 12, 2021
These host partners will collaboratively design local events and public programming that connect people to issues surrounding water in their communities. In co-creating with community members and organizations who are working on water issues, MHC is expanding the local and state network of stakeholders at multiple levels within Minnesota to support citizen initiatives and create a shared vision around water in Minnesota.
Visitors to the We Are Water MN exhibit learn about water issues statewide and in their community. They also reflect on local stories and the meaning and experiences of water in Minnesota with space to add their own stories. Combining learning and sharing in this way strengthens Minnesotans’ relationships with water and increases participation in water stewardship activities.
Shelley Harrison notes, “By hosting this thought-provoking, informative, and interactive exhibit we each hope to increase our collaboration with community partners and increase community dialogue about the past, present, and future of water in south-central Minnesota.”
Since We Are Water MN began touring in 2016, more than 2,000 stories about water have been collected. Nearly 100 high-quality audio stories are available via the project’s Story Map. Water stories are a way for visitors to share personal experiences while learning about their neighbors’ relationships with water. The range of experiences – from water as a daily part of visitors’ lives to personal stories of family, ritual, joy, and loss – along with education materials, compel people to evaluate their relationship with water and engage more deeply in conservation.
MHC’s project partners for We Are Water MN are the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), and the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources. These partners connect host communities to resources and information, learn from host communities, and provide opportunities for host communities to learn from and with each other.
We Are Water MN is funded in part by money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the Clean Water Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
About the Minnesota Humanities Center
The Humanities Center connects our past, present, and future by bringing people together to increase understanding and spark change. Using story as a catalyst and the humanities to explore the question of what it means to be human, MHC seeks to create a just society that is curious, connected, and compassionate. MHC, founded in 1971, is a statewide nonprofit organization affiliated with and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. MHC operates a full-service Event Center in a historic building on St. Paul’s East Side. More information available at mnhum.org.