Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibition now on display at Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park and Friends of Congaree Swamp is co-hosting the Smithsonian traveling exhibit Water/Ways now through Wednesday, January 13, 2021. According to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street “Water/Ways exhibition dives into water—an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically.”
This exhibition dives into how essential water is to our life on our planet environmentally, culturally, and historically. Water serves as a source that can both divide, but also connect, as a source of recreation, relaxation, and inspiration. For many cultures, it is also a sacred symbol important to the traditions of cultures across the world.
Water has played an important role in our nation's history. Water has affected settlement and migration patterns. Access to and control of water resources have played an important role in our political and economic history. And the need for water for all of us to survive and thrive has led to many to find creative and resourceful ways to protect this vital resource for life on earth.
Water is the lifeblood of Congaree National Park. Come and see how it is not only vital to our park and our local community, but to all humans across our country, and across the world.
One of the unique opportunities visitors will have while visiting the Water/Ways exhibit at Congaree is experiencing Swales and Sloughs (2020) created by percussionist Greg Stuart. An associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Music, Greg teaches experimental music, music history and runs the Experimental Music Workshop.
His work draws upon a mixture of music from the experimental tradition, Wandelweiser, improvisation, and electronics. His performances have been described as “a ghostly, gorgeous lesson in how close, concentrated listening can alter and enhance perception” (The New York Times).
Swales and Sloughs is an installation piece written in the open-source Pure Data visual programming language. The piece combines field recordings from fifty locations in Congaree National Park, instrumental and electronic sound, with an archive of six hundred photographs taken throughout the park. Greg shares, "Like the dynamic processes of the Congaree floodplain itself, the sounds and images change continuously, at times creating moments of relative stasis, at others producing sequences of rapid transformation."
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. Support for the display of the exhibit at Congaree National Park has been provided by Richland County Government Hospitality Tax Funds.
Visitors will be able to experience Water/Ways in the Harry Hampton Visitor Center Auditorium, located at 100 National Park Road, Hopkins, SC. The exhibit is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Federal Holidays). Admission is FREE. In order to ensure visitor, staff and volunteer health and safety, ten visitors will be allowed in the exhibit area at a time and will be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis.