Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit to visit Niles Jan. 5 to Feb. 16

NILES —  A traveling Smithsonian exhibit that will show people how water has shaped local communities will soon be making waves in Niles.

The Water/Ways traveling exhibit will be open from Jan. 5 to Feb. 16 at the Niles District Library, 620 E. Main St. A companion exhibit will also be available at the Fort St. Joseph Museum, 508 E. Main St. The exhibits are free and open to the public.

Water/Ways is part of the national Museums on Main Street program. Those who attend will have access to multiple programs, which will change every week, and seek to educate and intrigue people about all things water including its impact at a local, state and national level.

Those who attend will hear experts address topics on the science, conservation, cultural significance, history and future of water.

Interactive lessons, including an opportunity to create sushi with local chef Daysha Amster, as well as tours of the local wastewater plant are just a few of the things that participants can take part in.

A number of local partners, including Fernwood Nature Center, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, will contribute to exhibit lessons. The events will aptly coincide with the Hunter Ice Festival. The exhibit will serve as a warming center on Saturday, Jan. 19, during the second day of the festival.

Mollie Kruck Watson, assistant director to the Niles History Museum, said she was ecstatic to learn that Niles was one of several locations chosen to host Water/Ways. Thirty other applicants applied to have the exhibit visit their hometowns.

“It’s really cool that a Smithsonian exhibit is coming to Niles. We keep saying, ‘The Smithsonian is coming to Niles!’” Kruck Watson said. “The caliber of the exhibit — it’s beautiful. I would also say that the message it tells is very important and you can learn about everything from the national level down to our local waterways.”

The museum’s companion exhibit will demonstrate how local waterways have shaped the history of the southwest Michigan community. Local waterways like the St. Joseph River, Dowagiac Creek and Barron Lake will be the stars of the programs.

At the state level, people can also visit a Great Lakes-specific exhibit inside the library. The program is part of the Great Lakes Water Heritage Project, formed by The Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Humanities Council, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Kalamazoo Nature Center and Michigan State University. People can learn facts about the Great Lakes and everyday tips for protecting the lakes. 

Kruck Watson said those who check out the events are likely to gain a new perspective on water. The closing ceremony, which will include an expo and celebration, will seek to remind people why water is a precious resource.

“The idea is that the exhibit ends with a strong call to action,” Kruck Watson said. “We are hoping that people leave inspired to make a difference in their own community and get involved with some groups working to better our local waterways.”

While the programs are all free, some require interested participants to pre-register, due to limited space. People can sign up online at nileslibrary.com/water-ways or call the library at 269-683-8545 ext. 112.

Kruck Watson also encouraged organizations and schools to schedule tours of the exhibit.  Tours can be scheduled by calling the history center at (269) 845-4054.

Berrien County

Berrien County Commissioners sign resolution asking state to restore county revenue share

News

Niles Renaissance Faire to return in May

Berrien County

United Way of Southwest Michigan’s director of advocacy chosen for selective statewide advocacy program

Dowagiac

Salvation Army receives grant from The Pokagon Fund for emergency financial assistance

Edwardsburg

South Bend man injured in Edwardsburg car vs train accident

Buchanan

School, community partner to bring bikes to Buchanan students

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg church collecting donations for southwest Michigan veterans

News

Niles native calls for photography submissions

News

Video shows altercation at flag football game in Niles

Breaking News

Fire contained at former Niles Inn

Brandywine Education

Former Brandywine teacher charged with accosting a minor for immoral purposes, use of a computer to commit a felony

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports two COVID-19 deaths

Berrien County

4-H announces alumni, supporters walking challenge

Education

Ballard Elementary, Niles High School to remain remote through end of the week

Business

Niles real estate agent named Realtor of the Year

News

Evergreen Road special assessment district created

Cass County

Cass County millages on the ballot for May 4

Dowagiac

Dowagiac announces March students of the month

Buchanan

Local provisioning centers celebrate cannabis holiday with sales, overcome software snags

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 799,140 cases, 16,986 deaths

Dowagiac

DUS to install classroom phones in elementary schools, high school

Berrien County

Berrien County 4-H Leaders Association sets annual meeting

Dowagiac

DUS Board of Education honors Class of 2021 Top 10

Buchanan

Buchanan HCU member center lands new leadership