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Conversations About Water
LMRD No. 679, Mon, Aug 20, 2018

Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibition
Quapaw Canoe Company, Clarksdale, MS
Aug 31st - Oct 13th, 2018

For Immediate Release:
August, 20th 2018
Smithsonian Exhibit Set to Spark Conversations About Water in the Delta

This fall, a travelling Smithsonian exhibit invites residents of the Delta to explore the complex ways that water impacts their lives. The Water/Ways exhibit will be on display in Clarksdale from August 31st through October 13th.

The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program brings exhibitions to small towns throughout the country. This year, the Water/Ways exhibit is touring Mississippi and is making it’s only stop in the Mississippi Delta in Clarksdale. Admission is free and open to the public.

Water/Ways is designed to be a starting point for conversations about water and how it impacts our lives. The exhibition explores the role of water in culture, spirituality, communities, and economics, as well as some of the current water issues on our planet and their potential impacts. Visitors are encouraged to share their own stories and discuss ideas sparked by the exhibit.

The exhibit in Clarksdale will focus on the relationship between the communities of the Delta and Mississippi River. Along with the exhibit, special programs in both Helena and Clarksdale will allow visitors to explore more deeply their own relationship to water. “The Mississippi River connects everyone in the Delta. We wanted to include events on both sides of the river to highlight the interconnectedness of our communities” said Shannon McMulkin, Director of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation.

Special events will include programming on flood control, the relationship between swimming and civil rights, the influence of water on art and music and more. A full list of special events is available at

The exhibition and special events were organized by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation with support from the Mississippi Humanities Council and many local partners. “This has been a very collaborative effort between local organizations and the event should draw attention to several different businesses and nonprofits in the area,” said McMulkin.

The space for the exhibit is being donated by Quapaw Canoe Company, a guiding and outfitting company that has been working to connect people to the Mississippi River for over 20 years. John Ruskey, the owner of Quapaw Canoe Company said about the exhibit, “while the Mississippi River is a spectacular example of the raw power and beauty of water, it is also little known and understood by its closest residents. Water/Ways will help bring greater understanding of the river, its sources, and its future to the people of the Delta, especially to our youth.”

A Grand Opening celebration will take place on August 31st from 6- 8 pm on the street in front of the exhibit. The event will include food vendors and live blues from James “Super Chikan” Johnson. The exhibit will be open to the public for tours and several visiting scholars will be available during the opening to answer questions about the Mississippi River.


The Lower Mississippi River Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to promoting stewardship of the Lower Mississippi River by providing opportunities for residents of the Delta to experience and learn about the river.

Water/Ways is made possible by the National Endowment for Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council.


Shannon McMulkin
Water/Ways Docents Needed!

We are looking for volunteers to act as docents for the Water/Ways exhibit. Water/Ways is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that explores the relationship between humans and the water.

What will docents do?

Docents will work either on their own or with a partner to man the exhibit during open hours. They will greet visitors, answer questions and act as a tour guide if needed. We'll provide a scripted tour but docents are encouraged to add their own local knowledge and stories.

When are docents needed?

The exhibit will be in Clarksdale Aug 31st- Oct 13th and will be open Tuesday-Saturday. Each docent should plan to work one or more 4-hour shifts each week during the 6 weeks of the exhibit.

What else do I need to know?

Docent training will be on Tuesday, August 28th, 5- 6 pm. If you can't make the training but are still interested in being a docent we can schedule a different training time for you.

More information about Water/Ways is on our website

Contact Shannon McMulkin if you are interested in volunteering or with any questions:

Shannon McMulkin
Lower Mississippi River Foundation

~Grand Opening Celebration ~
Friday, August 31st, 6-8pm

Sunflower Avenue Block Party
In Front of Quapaw Canoe Co.


Bluesman Extraordinaire:
James "Super Chikan" Johnson


Paddler, Dancer, Poet:
Wang Ping

Thank you to our celebration sponsor: Levon's Bar & Grill
(on same block of Sunflower Avenue in downtown Clarksdale!)

~Made possible by the Mississippi Humanities Council~

~Presented by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation~


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Year in 2018. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.