On a very warm day in July, the 16th, to be exact, the Grand Opening of the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit at the High Springs Museum took place. It was a festive occasion with many booths set up on the beautiful green lawn in front of the museum.
Program Director Kristina Young was up at 4 am to direct the Water Ventures truck from Crystal Springs. The Santa Fe High School band played appropriate tunes, among them “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River,” and student Cierra Jones gave a superb rendering of the Star Spangled Banner. Commissioners, police chiefs and vice mayors spoke, as well as political candidates and others.
Food was sold, ice cold water given away freely (thanks OSFR), brochures and information dispensed, along with decals, pens with “Florida Museum of Natural History” written on them, t-shirts and back packs.
Inside the museum, a continuous throng of people milled about and marveled at the exhibits, beautiful paintings, banners depicting BMPs and OFWs, incredible photographs by John Moran, Mark Long, Ray Carson and others, and a karst wall through which the Floridan aquifer flows, with fossils in the voids and crevices.
All in all a super display and celebration of our water, here mostly in our aquifer, springs and rivers, valued and cherished by some, disregarded and exploited by others, used and needed by all.
Thanks and gratitude goes to all, starting with the planners and grant-writers, Kristina Young whose superhuman efforts brought it all together, museum staff and including all the volunteers who put in so much time, effort and money to be a part of the programs or who built the exhibits and infrastructure.
And it is just starting. The exhibit will run through August 27, with many programs and events yet to happen. Come often and take advantage of this great learning opportunity to celebrate and venerate our water.