A rain barrel might seem out of place inside a museum, but it serves as a learning tool at the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries, helping community members from toddlers to seniors to learn about the centuries-long struggles with drinkable water in Georgia.
The exhibit "Drinkable Water in Georgia", presented by the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, traces the geographic, environmental, and political factors that surround this invaluable natural resource and how those issues have impacted Georgians.
The exhibit features an interactive room devoted to helping children understand the complicated issues surrounding drinkable water. The hands-on activities, which are open to all visitors, were installed just weeks before the building will reopen for school field trips this fall.
“We are excited to return to hosting field trips and special tours at the Special Collections Libraries Building this fall,” said Mazie Bowen, the libraries’ public service coordinator. “We will offer opportunities for schools to visit for a hands-on water-cycle based activity and exhibit tour, and groups can contact us for other educational opportunities.”
In the exhibit, participants can delve into Georgia’s aquatic infrastructure, from the centuries-old use of natural rivers and streams to struggles with pollution and growth, and the recent political water wars that have pitted the state against its neighbors. The issues are explained through historic maps, newspaper reports, pictures, government documents, timelines, schematics, personal letters, and other pieces.
In the interactive area, guests of all ages can explore the water cycle and Georgia’s watersheds through special book displays and interactive technology. After reading preserved letters that kids submitted decades ago to politicians to advocate for clean water, students are encouraged to write their own responses.
The Special Collections Libraries’ galleries are open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with expanded evening hours beginning this fall.
On Saturday, August 28, the community is invited to participate in virtual Family Day activities centered on the drinkable water exhibit, including crafts and hands-on activities.
The exhibit “Drinkable Water in Georgia” and the family event are sponsored by the Stephen E. Draper Center and Archives for the Study of Water Law and Policy. For more information about the exhibit or to schedule a tour, contact Anna Nolan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 542-6367.