Audubon Center of the North Woods – Smithsonian Exhibit

waterwaysFor Immediate Release    

New Smithsonian Exhibit Will Visit Sandstone
Water/Ways Connects Communities Through Water and the Humanities
Exhibit Opens at Audubon Center of the North Woods on November 19, 2016


November 10, 2016—ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Minnesota Humanities Center is pleased to announce the new Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition—Water/Ways—will open in Pine County at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone on Saturday, November, 19. The Water/Ways Sandstone Opening Ceremony will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday November 19 at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone.  Water/Ways is a traveling exhibit that focuses on the relationships between people and water—how water connects story, history, faith, ethics, the arts, and science, all through community. 

Water/Ways reveals the central nature of water in our lives by exploring how Americans use water, how water unites communities, how water affects every element of life, and how Americans care for our water and protect this valuable resource for the future. As Governor Mark Dayton mentioned in his 2016 Water Summit speech, “we have critical water quality problems in Minnesota . . . we cannot ignore them. We have to face up to them and work together, to solve them.” Water/Ways addresses water resource issues while seeking active solutions to real water problems in the host communities and our state.

Minnesota is one of only five states chosen by the Smithsonian to launch this new traveling exhibit. Developed as part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program, Water/Ways is a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. “Water/Ways invites us to consider how we will take care of water—this most basic resource. It is a conversation about water,” said David O’Fallon, President of the Humanities Center. “Water/Ways offers exhibits, events, scientific information, and, most of all, opportunities to meet within our communities. I applaud the Audubon Center of the North Woods for hosting Water/Ways and bringing together an array of Sandstone-area partners. Sandstone can be a leader in forming a new water ethic.”

The Water/Ways exhibit is specially designed for viewing in smaller, rural communities and will visit six Minnesota communities in 2016 and 2017. Through theWater/Ways traveling exhibit each host community will tell its local water stories and envision the future of water. The upcoming host sites for Water/Ways are:


  • Lanesboro (Fillmore County), Lanesboro Arts. January 7 – February 19, 2017
  • Detroit Lakes (Becker County), Becker County Historical Society. February 25 – April 9, 2017


Water/Ways has already visited these host sites in Minnesota:

  • New London/Spicer (Kandiyohi County), Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center.
    June 25 – August 7, 2016
  • St. Peter (Nicollet County), Nicollet County Historical Society. August 13 – September 25, 2016
  • Red Wing (Goodhue County), Goodhue County Historical Society. October 1 – November 13, 2016 

As a part of Water/Ways, a companion exhibit, We Are Water MN, has been developed in conjunction with the Humanities Center’s Water/Ways partners, which include the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Section of the American Water Works Association, to tell the Minnesota story. This interactive, story collecting exhibit focuses on individuals’ relationships with and responsibilities to water. We Are Water MN raises awareness about Minnesota’s water quantity and quality, connecting exhibit-goers to active water solutions. 

“We launched the tour in June and over the last four months we’ve had a great response from visitors, especially regarding the hands-on and local content,” said Britt Gangeness, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Outreach Specialist. “The companion We Are Water MN exhibit is designed to facilitate conversation and interaction among visitors. Stop by with your friends before a night out or with your family on the weekend.”

The Minnesota Water/Ways exhibit tour began on June 25, 2016 in New London/Spicer and ends on April 9, 2017 in Detroit Lakes. The public can participate in the conversation to raise awareness of water on social media at #wearewatermn. Minnesotans can enter the #WeAreWaterMN Instagram Photo Contest to win a variety of prizes (details at  For more information about exhibit host sites, the Sandstone Opening Ceremony, tour dates and hours, and community activities visit To learn more about the nationwide Water/Ways tour and other MoMS traveling exhibitions, visit

Contact at Minnesota Humanities Center:
Christi Shortridge, Communications Director,, 651-772-4251,
cell: 651-278-2635                                                             

Christi Shortridge | Communications Director
Minnesota Humanities Center | 987 Ivy Avenue East | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55106
PH 651-772-4251 | FAX 651-774-0205
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