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We are Water

A Collaboration

River Life, in collaboration with a number of campus and community partners, hosted the We Are Water Minnesota traveling exhibit on campus between October 12-November 26, 2018. The exhibit was on view at the Institute on the Environment; visit its website for more information about the exhibit.

Multiple Host Sites Around the State

At each host site, the hosting organization also creates a series of public events related to the themes of water and story. You can check out the exhibit as it travels to the following locations:

Beyond the Exhibit

We Are Water MN reminds us how important it is to bring the human, social, cultural dimensions of water prominently into discussions of our water future.  The program’s twin themes--that we are all responsible to be stewards of water, and that stresses on water systems are potentially most harmful to parts of our community that we hear from the least--both make issues of water far more than matters just of science and engineering.  To achieve a just, and resilient, water future, science/engineering are necessary, but not sufficient.

We have gathered here information and resources that extend the We Are Water MN beyond the exhibit.  We hope that these materials will be useful for teaching and learning, for future research and program development, and just for general knowledge sharing.  We have organized the material into four categories: Places, Partners, Water, and Stories. Together, these sections will point you farther down the path of understanding the many dimensions through which it is indeed true that we are water.

Share Your Own Water Story

We invite you to visit us in Northrop 210 to share your own water story as part of the We Are Water MN exhibition. Stop by during business hours (ring the doorbell!) to write your story and locate it on the map. We’ll also have the doors open for about an hour preceding IAS Thursdays programs through the end of November. We will continue to display the map and stories in our windows throughout the exhibition. Another story map is posted in the full exhibit at the Institute on the Environment and we welcome you to visit both sites!   

The We Are Water MN exhibit encourages people to think about their water story as a way of considering our personal relationships with water and responsibilities to it. Help us showcase and learn from the diversity of water experiences that are part of our community!

See Video of Some of Our Events

See video from "The River at our Doorstep."
See video from "Living With Water: Learning With and From Community."

Relationships and Responsibilities

We Are Water MN is a partnership formed to tell Minnesota’s water stories collaboratively, bringing together personal narratives, historical materials, and scientific information. Combining these ways of knowing water strengthens Minnesotans’ relationships with and responsibilities to water. The We Are Water MN partners are the Minnesota Humanities Center, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.


The We Are Water MN partners hope to accomplish seven goals:

  1. Deepen relationships among state level partners.
  2. Build host site capacity to practice the Humanities Center’s relationship-based approach.
  3. Support the expansion of local networks within host communities.
  4. Share state and local histories and narratives about water.
  5. Build Minnesotans’ individual relationships with water by sharing multiple perspectives.
  6. Build Minnesotans’ individual responsibilities to water.
  7. Build relationships between Minnesotans through community engagement events and activities before, during, and after the exhibit.