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, a new exhibition that explores more than 200 years of water analysis and water protection in the United States.
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 though 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.
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. Learn more about the history of water by exploring the resources, articles, podcasts, and videos below.
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.
Coverage of our new water analysis and protection exhibition includes WHYY, the ‘Philadelphia Inquirer,’ and others.
At the Science History Institute, ‘Downstream’ explores 200 years of water analysis, protection, and regulation.
Local public media outlet features Institute’s new ‘Downstream’ exhibition.
Read, watch, and listen to Distillations stories about the science of H2O in its many forms.
Join us for a Varsity Tutors virtual class to learn about typhoid fever in Philadelphia and what politicians did to protect residents from it.
The Nobel laureate and medical scientist will present “Aquaporin Water Channels: From Atomic Structure to Malaria.”