Steuben County Water/Ways

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Throughout January and February, community members across Steuben County have been talking about water. These six words were part of a list generated at the beginning of a community meeting on January 10th to discuss an upcoming Smithsonian Exhibit on the importance of water. The exhibit explores how water is a key part of life–environmentally, culturally, historically, and more. Local community members are working together to tell the story of our unique connection to water in Steuben County. Together, the local exhibit and Smithsonian exhibit will display information through large-scale display panels, interactive kiosks, and digital activities. Steuben County has been awarded the opportunity to host this exhibit from May 28-July 17, 2022.

This is truly a collaborative project. Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County is hosting the exhibit in their facility. The Steuben County Lakes Council is leading the development of the local educational component. SCCF is serving as a facilitator, connecting people from nonprofits, government, and businesses who are passionate about water in different ways.

The public was invited to see details of the local exhibit on Tuesday, February 22 at Carnegie Public Library. There were 28 people in attendance, representing local businesses, government entities, nonprofits, and associations. Participants saw a first look at the content and brainstormed a long list of organizations and community connections who can help make sure as many people as possible have a chance to learn from the exhibit. When the Smithsonian exhibit moves on to its next host site, the Steuben County exhibit will remain in the county and be available for community education.

The Steuben County Community Foundation (SCCF) is facilitating the discussions between nonprofit, government, and business groups. The public can view an online version of the Steuben County focused display at

We are excited to see this collaborative project come to life!

Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Indiana Humanities, and was adapted from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York.  Indiana Humanities support is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Get involved


You can learn more about becoming a docent for the exhibit and sign up by contacting Carnegie Public Library. Call 260-665-3362.


SCCF holds a temporary fund to assist with the costs of building the local exhibit. The Ralph E. Taylor Conservation Fund has awarded SCCF a $10,000 matching grant to develop and promote the local exhibit. Gifts may be made to SCCF to help with this community project. If you donate online, be sure to write “Steuben County Water Ways” in the fund designation box.

Update: 6/9/2022

You can view this article from KPC Media about the Steuben County Water Ways Exhibit at this link: to learn how to visit the exhibit and more!

Photo Credits to Caitlynn Shipe KPC Media: Article Published 1/6/2022

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