‘Waterways’ Exhibit – Tennessee Tombigbee/Smithsonian Museum on Main Street
January 25 @ 8:00 am - March 8 @ 4:00 pmFree
They were the center of life and livelihood long before they were linked by a canal. And like so many others across the country, they were the lifeline for much of the nation’s development, from its largest cities to the frontier.
And now, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and other water ways across the nation will come to life in a new exhibit opening in January at the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Authority office in Columbus. The traveling educational exhibit Water/Ways, from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, will be on display Jan. 25 through March 8 with daily tours and viewing for classrooms, families and individuals Monday through Saturdays.
“It’s truly an exhibit for all ages. It’s filled with the kind of things that make you go, ‘I never knew that’ and ‘Oh wow’,” said Tenn-Tom Development Authority Director Mitch Mays. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to host it to explain the role waterways and water have played in our history and will play in our future and to expose the region to our own Tenn-Tom Waterway Museum,” Mays continued.
The exhibit is funded in Columbus and across the state by the Mississippi Humanities Council and local donors. Designed for small towns and regional exhibits, “Water/Ways” explores the endless motion of the water cycle and its effect on everything from the landscape and environment to settlement, migration, and culture. The interactive exhibits, features and breathtaking pictures and art weave together a story for generations.
It looks at how political and economic planning have long been affected by access to water and control of water resources. It also encourages a better understanding of new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.
“Between the Tombigbee and the Tennessee rivers, so much of this region’s history and culture centers on water and we hardly think about it. This exhibit will change that and get us talking about things we’ve never thought about like how water impacts not just our jobs and economic development but also music and art and literature. Just look at how many times rivers and waters like the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi or the Ohio or the Missouri or the Hudson rivers are mentioned in songs and literature,” explained Glen Lautzenhiser, chairman of the volunteer committee that is hosting the exhibit.
“Look at the kinds of policy debates we are having about water across the country. The wonder of the exhibit is it works just as well for a family, individuals or school or community groups. That’s what makes it so special,” he added. “When you combine it with our existing waterway museum, it’s a unique opportunity that’s right here in front of us.”
In addition to the exhibit, organizers are putting together weekly “chat” sessions to give the community the opportunity to hear from experts on water-related subjects and to start their own discussions on water topics, from art and history to commerce, now and in the future. A full schedule of those weekly events will be available as the exhibit date gets closer.
For more information on the exhibit or to schedule a tour for a school or community group, call the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Authority at (662) 328-3286. For information, visit the TTWDA Web site at https://www.tenntom.org.
The Waterway Development Authority offices are on Seventh Street North in Downtown Columbus adjacent to the historic Lee Home Museum and the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library.