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Compelling Exhibition Highlights Earth's Most Precious Resource
Lake Michigan is home to several water intake cribs. This is the entry point for a giant tunnel that conveys water to the world’s largest conventional water purification plant, located in Chicago. © Richard C. Drew.
CHICAGO, IL.- Water – The next time you turn on the faucet to get a drink, just imagine all the species, mammoth or microscopic, that this single resource sustains. Water is life-giving, yet finite. In parts of the world water is taken for granted; in others, it is coveted.

The Field Museum’s summer 2009 exhibition, Water, is a timely, in-depth, thought-provoking experience for the whole family, focusing on how we use water and the future of this natural resource. The 7,500-square-foot exhibition illuminates many challenges various cultures encounter with water – whether living on a lake that floods annually, or walking for miles, simply to find a drink. Water explores the many ways water shapes life on Earth, making our planet livable.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the critical role water plays in our lives” says Philip Willink, PhD, assistant collections manager of fishes at The Field Museum. “It is necessary to understand how humans interact with water if we are to appreciate and effectively manage this precious resource. The Museum has the opportunity to open up a public dialogue on the importance of water and aquatic systems throughout the world.”

The Field Museum is one stop on the exhibition’s international tour that includes South America, Asia, and Australia. The Chicago presentation features unique elements, focusing visitors’ attention on extensive information about our area’s largest source of fresh water: Lake Michigan.

Chicago is home to the world's largest conventional water purification and treatment plant. The Field Museum’s Water exhibition shows an exclusive video of the daily purification and treatment processes: in other words, what happens before the faucet and after the flush. The process begins two miles off the Lake Michigan shoreline at water intake cribs – the entry point for a giant tunnel that conveys water to the purification plant – and ends on Chicago’s southwest side where millions of gallons of wastewater are treated and returned to the water cycle. This video links local visitors to the systems that bring water to their homes, offices and schools, and then takes it away.

The exhibition incorporates numerous hands-on interactive experiences, including a simulation of a river dam, a theater, immersive dioramas and a seven-foot globe featuring a multimedia presentation on the global nature of water. The accompanying walk-through piece in this press kit goes into vivid detail about all 10 sections of this exhibition.

The Field Museum’s division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo) has been leading the way in water conservation and preservation throughout the world for several decades. Laurel Ross, urban conservation director of ECCo says, “Because the Chicago region is so close to Lake Michigan, some might think water conservation is someone else's issue. It is not. Water visitors will leave with an understanding of why water conservation is critical to the survival of all life on our planet.”

Field Museum | Water | Chicago | Lake Michigan |  |




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