Smithsonian traveling exhibit “Water/Ways” opens at Maritime Museum

(Photo by Will Dendis)

The Smithsonian Institution is a remarkable national resource and a must-see destination for visitors to Washington, DC. But not everyone has the means to go there, so the Smithsonian launched a program called Museums on Main Street to bring small-scale exhibitions to venues in small-town America. One of the current traveling exhibits is coming soon to a little museum near you, and sticking around for six weeks. It’s titled “Water/Ways,” and appropriately enough, it’ll be hosted by the Hudson River Maritime Museum (HRMM), located on Kingston’s Rondout waterfront.

“Water/Ways” explores the ways in which water affects our everyday lives. It’s an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally and historically. In societies across the globe, water serves as a source of peace and contemplation. Many faiths revere water as a sacred symbol. Authors and artists are inspired by the complex character of water – a substance that is seemingly soft and graceful, yet a powerful and nearly unstoppable force.

Water also plays a practical role in American society. Its availability affected settlement and migration patterns. Access to water and control of water resources have long been a central part of political and economic planning. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.


The voyage begins with an Opening Reception in the museum’s East Gallery, featuring wine and light refreshments and a special exhibit preview, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 11. Tickets are free for museum members and cost $10 general admission.

Later in the month, HRMM will host a lecture by Daniel Rinn, “What Is a Waterway Anyway?” from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 18; a Volunteer Open House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 20; and a Museum Mates painting workshop for kids, “Thomas Cole & the Hudson River School,” from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 26.

February will feature a guided Ashokan Reservoir Trail Hike from noon to 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 9, followed by a concert from 3 to 5 p.m. back at the museum with Jay Ungar & Molly Mason and Betty & the Baby Boomers. There will be a Miniature Boat-Building workshop on the 16th, a presentation titled “A Presidential History of Water” on the 17th and a lecture by Raymond Frizwell, “Idylls of the Imagination: American Landscape Painting and the Shape of Memory,” on the 22nd of February.

“Water/Ways” will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week from January 11 though February 23. Museum admission costs $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (62+), $5 for children (5 to 18), $25 for a family; children aged 4 and under, HRMM members and active-duty military and their families get in free. For more information and to preregister for the various programs being presented in conjunction with “Water/Ways,” visit

“Water/Ways” opening reception, $10, Hudson River Maritime Museum, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston, (845) 338-0071,