Smithsonian display coming to Valmeyer in 2016

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The old Valmeyer High School is pictured during the Flood of ’93.

Illinois Humanities announced this week that the Valmeyer Community Heritage Society will host “Water/Ways,” a new Museum on Main Street exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution examining the monumental significance of water in the human experience from a wide range of perspectives.

The exhibit will be displayed Oct. 22 through Dec. 4, 2016, in the society’s museum in Valmeyer, a historic one-room schoolhouse now undergoing renovation.

“We’re eagerly looking forward to working with our friends in Valmeyer to present this intriguing exhibit,” said Matt Meacham, a program coordinator with Illinois Humanities.

“Valmeyer’s relationship with the Mississippi River has been a central theme throughout its history. The best-known instance of that theme, and probably the most dramatic one, is the community’s relocation after the devastating Flood of 1993, but the Valmeyer Community Heritage Society makes a convincing case that the significance of the river to the community has manifested itself in countless other ways, as well,” Meacham added.

Dennis Knobloch, vice president of the Valmeyer Community Heritage Society and former mayor of the village, said the opportunity to host a Smithsonian exhibit is truly an honor.

“We look forward to working with the Smithsonian Institution and the Illinois Humanities Council to bring this display and the associated programs to the people of Southwestern Illinois,” he said.

“Water/Ways” will explore a variety of questions about the role of water in the lives of individuals and communities:
•How do Americans use water? How is water represented in our society? In what ways do we use water as a symbol?
•How does water unite communities? How does conflict over water emerge, and how do communities resolve it?
•How does water affect the ways in which we live, work, worship, create, and play?
•How do we care for our water and protect the resource for the future?

The Valmeyer Community Heritage Society is one of only six organizations that will host “Water/Ways” during its 2016-17 tour of Illinois.

“Residents of Valmeyer and the surrounding area can be proud that the society has been selected,” Meacham said.

Further information about the Valmeyer Community Heritage Society’s plans for the “Water/Ways” exhibit and activities associated with it will be available in the coming months.

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