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Smithsonian Institute Photo Large

Photo special to Alachua County Today

The Smithsonian Institution Water/Ways Exhibit's Museum on Main Street (MoMs) in High Springs is scheduled to open July 16 and will run for six weeks.

HIGH SPRINGS – For the past year, members of the High Springs Historical Society have been working diligently towards their goal of creating the best water-related display and event possible as part of the Smithsonian Institution Water/Ways Exhibit's Museum on Main Street (MoMS).

MoMS brings the Smithsonian to small towns across America. The museum's locally-created display is called the High Springs Community Rivers and Springs Exhibit.

Organizers chose High Springs as one of only six locations in Florida as a venue for the Smithsonian's Traveling Exhibit. High Springs and Palatka are the only locations in north Florida to have been chosen to participate in this historic event. Other events in Florida are in Miami Springs, Okeechobee, Sanibel and Tampa.

The High Springs exhibit is scheduled to open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday, July 16, and will run for six weeks. It is located inside the High Springs Historic Museum, which is housed in the refurbished High Springs Elementary School and Community Center behind City Hall.

Several other supporting events will be going on opening day.

“Educational booths, interactive activities for kids, Springs Lunch, Music in the Park entertainment and the High Springs Farmer's Market are all part of the event,” said Kristina Young, MoMS Program Director. Mayor Byran Williams and other guest dignitaries will be on-hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony to be held beginning at 11:30 a.m. Museum exhibit tours are scheduled from 1 – 4 p.m. on opening day.

Criteria for application approval included, among other things, the community's willingness to support the exhibit and the host organization's willingness to create their own exhibit to draw attention to the state-wide importance of Florida's rivers and springs.

In early communication with the Florida Humanities Council, the organizing agency coordinating the traveling exhibit, approximately 28 supporters had signed on to assist the historical society in their production of a complimentary exhibit and in the coordination of other community-wide participation and publication of the event.

According to the MoMS web page, the reason for creating this educational experience is their recognition that “water is a critical resource. An essential component of life on our planet, water powers the environment’s engine, impacting climate and helping to shape and sculpt the landscape.”

“Water also plays a practical role in American society. The availability of water affected settlement and migration patterns,” according to the site, which is particularly true of High Springs, as the city grew in size in the late 19th Century when railroads chose to converge there due to the convenient location of a spring that was diverted for use in many service and repair shops.

Water Matters, a water initiative from the Smithsonian, is designed for small and rural museums and focuses on the relationships between people and water.

The Water / Ways Exhibit is a six-week exhibition which runs from July 16 through Aug. 27. It will be open from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Further information about the exhibit can be found at www.HighSpringsMuseum.org.

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