How do we understand how water moves, what it carries, the ways it can be threatened, and our choices for how to protect it?
Find out by taking a watery journey through history and science with Downstream, our current exhibition exploring more than 200 years of water analysis and protection in the Delaware Valley and beyond.
Science History Institute/Emma Gothelf
We All Live Downstream
Water flows from the tap and you drink it. It bubbles along creeks and you fish in it. It crashes on the beach and you splash in it. It puddles, evaporates, and rains down again, feeding streams, rivers, and oceans. Water is constantly flowing around us, through the natural world of streams, rivers, bays, and oceans, and in the scientific spaces of laboratories, water treatment plants, agricultural irrigation systems, and municipal pipes. As water moves from place to place and use to use, our demands on it change, too.
Are you a researcher, teacher, or student interested in the history of water? Explore the images, advertisements, documents, and oral histories in our digital collections. Or learn about the important individuals who worked on, in, and around water in our historical biographies.
Downstream is made possible in part by a Cultural and Historical Support Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Additional support has been provided by the Alafi Family Foundation, and through a Science Initiative Grant from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh Downstream is also made possible by the support of lending institutions including the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Delaware River Basin Commission, the Independence Seaport Museum, and the Philadelphia Water Department.
Recognition is part of the prestigious American Association for State and Local History Leadership in History Awards program.
Annual awards program recognizes special achievements of museums and historical organizations across Pennsylvania.
Take a deeper dive into our permanent exhibition and changing exhibitions with a free, drop-in tour.
Dive into a day of family-friendly, Downstream-related activities that includes storytime and exploration of our exhibitions.
Look, touch, and sense the unique objects in the museum’s collections with a hands-on experience that will satisfy your curiosity.
This outdoor exhibition featured a series of anti-pollution posters created in 1951 by the Pennsylvania Sanitary Water Board.