Water Tour

Museum Programs & Activities
Saturday, September 10, 2022
2:00 p.m. EDT (UTC -4)
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

Join our museum’s Gallery Guides for a “drop-in” tour that explores the importance of water and the histories of pollution and protection that have changed our relationship to this vital substance.

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Fairy picture of water

Fairy Picture of Water, illustration from Fairy Land of Chemistry: Explorations in the World of Atoms, 1887.

Science History Institute

Clean water is life, and our scientific understanding of the water cycle’s significance and complexity has grown in the last few centuries.

On this tour, you’ll learn about the gods and powerful beings that were believed to protect flowing waters, how early anti-pollution advocates dealt with crises like thousands of dead fish in the Colorado river, and how chemistry and water knowledge intersect. Find out how Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the EPA, and scientists and activists throughout history have fought to protect our waters from contamination.

We’ll also talk about the history of our local water sources in the Delaware Valley, the technological advancements that led to the water systems we have today, and how innovators like Kathryn Hach-Darrow helped us observe, test, and purify water, first to make it fit for human consumption, and later as a matter of environmental ethics.


Drop-in tours take place twice a month on Saturdays. Admission is free and no reservations are necessary.