McAllen, TX – From above, Earth appears as a water planet with more than 71 percent of its surface covered with this vital resource for life. Water impacts climate, agriculture, transportation, industry and more. It inspires art and music. The International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS,) a Smithsonian Affiliate, will examine water as an environmental necessity and an important cultural element as it hosts “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. “Water/Ways” will be on view June 1 through August 11, 2024.

“Water/Ways” explores the endless motion of the water cycle, water’s effect on landscape, settlement and migration, and its impact on culture and spirituality. It looks at how political and economic planning have long been affected by access to water and control of water resources. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.

Fishing on the Chattahoochee River, Ga. Photo by Steve Harwood.

The exhibition includes interactives that will help visitors explore the deep connections between water, work, traditions, and faith. For example, a touchable relief map of the Elwha River watershed in Washington allows visitors to feel how terrain creates a watershed. Another interactive called “How Much Water” shows how many gallons of water it takes to grow or produce a variety of familiar goods from milk to chicken to blue jeans. “Water/Ways” also includes two multimedia kiosks that provide a variety of short videos about water as a natural resource and its influence on the environment and human culture.

“Water is an important part of everyone’s life, and we are excited to explore what it means culturally, socially and spiritually in our own community,” said Marcelo Ramirez, Curator at IMAS. “We want to convene conversations about water and have developed local exhibitions and public programs to compliment the Smithsonian exhibition.”

“Water/Ways” was developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. It was inspired by an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (, and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul (, in collaboration with Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland; The Field Museum, Chicago; Instituto Sangari, Sao Paulo, Brazil; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; San Diego Natural History Museum; and Science Centre Singapore with PUB Singapore.

Americans and Mexicans join hands across the Rio Grande, 2014. Photo by Lorne Matalon.


The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and Smithsonian Affiliations are critical national outreach units at the Smithsonian Institution. For more than 70 years, SITES has been connecting Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history. Smithsonian Affiliations establishes and maintains the Smithsonian’s long-term partnerships with museums, educational organizations and cultural institutions in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Panama. Together, SITES and Affiliations share the Smithsonian’s vast resources with millions of people outside Washington, D.C. Visit and for more information.

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