Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit (November 13, 2020-January 13, 2021)

Water/Ways logo

Congaree National Park, in partnership with Friends of Congaree Swamp, will be hosting the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street Water/Ways exhibit from November 13, 2020 to January 13, 2021 in the Harry Hampton Visitor Center Auditorium. The exhibit will be open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (closed Federal Holidays). Admission is FREE. In order to ensure visitor, staff and volunteer health and safety, ten visitors will be allowed in the exhibit area at a time and will be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis.

WaterWays Exhibit at Congaree
Water/Ways exhibit in the Harry Hampton Visitor Center Auditorium.


Water/Ways Exhibit Overview

This exhibition dives into how essential water is to our life on our planet environmentally, culturally, and historically. Water serves as a source that can both divide, but also connect, as a source of recreation, relaxation, and inspiration. For many cultures, it is also a sacred symbol important to the traditions of cultures across the world.

Water has played an important role in our nation's history. Water has affected settlement and migration patterns. Access to and control of water resources have played an important role in our political and economic history. And the need for water for all of us to survive and thrive has led to many to find creative and resourceful ways to protect this vital resource for life on earth.

Water is the lifeblood of Congaree National Park. Come and see how it is not only vital to our park and our local community, but to all humans across our country, and across the world.

Water/Ways has been made possible in South Carolina by South Carolina Humanities. The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress. Support for the South Carolina tour of Water/Ways has been provided by Dominion Energy. Support for the display of the exhibit at Congaree National Park has been provided by Richland County Government Hospitality Tax Funds.

Water/Ways Exhibit Videos
Check out these videos to learn more about the exhibit and how water connects us all.

Water Quality and Availability


Inspiration and Connection


Swales and Sloughs (2020)
One of the unique opportunities visitors will have while visiting the
Water/Ways exhibit at Congaree is experiencing Swales and Sloughs (2020) created by percussionist Greg Stuart. An associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Music, Greg teaches experimental music, music history and runs the Experimental Music Workshop. His work draws upon a mixture of music from the experimental tradition, Wandelweiser, improvisation, and electronics. His performances have been described as “a ghostly, gorgeous lesson in how close, concentrated listening can alter and enhance perception” (The New York Times). Swales and Sloughs is an installation piece written in the open-source Pure Data visual programming language. The piece combines field recordings from fifty locations in Congaree National Park, instrumental and electronic sound, with an archive of six hundred photographs taken throughout the park. Greg shares, "Like the dynamic processes of the Congaree floodplain itself, the sounds and images change continuously, at times creating moments of relative stasis, at others producing sequences of rapid transformation."

Special Events and Activities

Logos of Sponsors for the 2021 Water/Ways Virtual Symposium
2021 Water/Ways Virtual Symposium Sponsors


Interested in Volunteering?

If you are interested in learning about how YOU can volunteer to help with the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit, please let us know! Email:

Last updated: January 12, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

100 National Park Road
Hopkins, SC 29061


803 776-4396

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