Exhibit celebrates Minnesota’s water

A young girl and an adult engage in an interactive exhibit.

Minnesotans have always treasured water, whether it’s walking along a creek or river near home, or leaving home to “go to the lake.” Now a popular exhibit is celebrating the nuances of this bountiful yet imperiled resource.

“We Are Water MN” explores the connections between the humanities and water, inviting visitors to reflect on the meaning and experiences of water in Minnesota and add their own stories to the mix. The exhibit is a partnership of many units at the University of Minnesota, including the Institute on the Environment (IonE), the Institute for Advanced Study and its River Life program, and the Water Resources Center, along with a host of state agencies. It opened at IonE on October 12 and will travel to seven other host sites over the next year.

The exhibit highlights the centrality of water to Minnesota, U of M provost Karen Hanson noted at the opening. She said it also points out “our responsibilities as stewards of water and our responsibility to understand that stresses on our water systems are likely to have the greatest impact on people whose voices may not always have the largest microphone.”

“We Are Water MN” features an array of informational and interactive displays. One offers a breakdown on how groundwater is used in Minnesota; water supply systems (53 percent) and irrigation (34 percent) are the top uses. The interactive Minnesota Farm Challenge lets visitors choose “where to live and what to grow on your Minnesota farm,” then asks them to make 10 decisions regarding land and soil management to see if the farm will stay profitable.

There are plenty of ways to engage with the exhibit and celebrate our connections to water. A number of U of M programs and units are contributing to events during the exhibit, including activities like river walks on the Twin Cities campus.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities