NewsCovering Louisiana


LEH accepting applications for Museum on Main Street Water/Ways traveling exhibition

Posted at 11:27 AM, Jan 15, 2020

The Smithsonian Institution and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities have partnered to bring a new tour of the Museum on Main Street exhibition "Water/Ways" exhibition "Water/Ways" to Louisiana. During its first tour in 2018 and 2019, "Water/Ways" provided Louisiana communities a new way to explore the many ways water affects residents' lives.

"The Smithsonian Institute's Museum on Main Street offers a unique chance for cultural organizations in rural areas to build capacity, foster new partnerships and reach a wider audience," said Chris Robert, LEH Grants Manager. "We were thrilled to see the last tour reach 7,000 Louisianans."

The exhibition will arrive in Louisiana in May 2021 for a yearlong tour that stops in six sites, ending in March 2022. The tour scholar is Dr. Liz Skilton, assistant professor of history and author of "Tempest: Hurricane Naming and American Culture" (LSU Press, 2019). Dr. Skilton holds the J.J. Burdin M.D. and Helen B. Burdin/Board of Regents Endowed Professorship in Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. This marks the ninth time that the LEH has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution and Louisiana communities to host a Museum on Main Street tour, which provides access to Smithsonian exhibitions for small towns across America.

Museums, libraries, and cultural institutions in towns of fewer than 20,000 residents may apply to host the exhibition. Final selection is conducted in partnership with the tour scholar and Louisiana Main Street, a division of the state's Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. The grant amount is $5,000 per site, and the deadline to apply is June 12, 2020.

The 2021-22 "Water/Ways" tour in Louisiana is made possible by a grant from BHP. The exhibition is the centerpiece of a statewide initiative by the LEH to increase public understanding of the issues facing Louisiana's coastal communities.

The LEH invites museums, libraries, community centers, nature centers, and other cultural nonprofit organizations in rural areas to apply at

Eligible applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Site is open at least five days a week
  • Site is in a town with fewer than 20,000 residents
  • Site must offer at minimum six free public programs, such as lectures, oral history collection, film screening and discussion, reading and discussion, etc., in conjunction with exhibition
  • Site can accommodate exhibition measuring 650 square feet, at least 8-foot, 6-inch ceiling height
  • Site can house 20 shipping crates (either on-site, or off) during length of exhibition, requiring roughly 150-200 square feet
  • Arrange for shipping of crates
  • Attendance by two staff members who will serve as the site project director and assistant director for the duration of the project at the LEH/Smithsonian-led content and installation training workshops to be held in fall 2020 and spring 2021 respectively
  • Site must ensure robust community participation through partnerships and publicity

NOTE: as per funder stipulations, four coastal sites and two inland sites will be awarded; awarded sites will be encouraged to match funds through cash and in-kind cost share.

Applicants can visit to apply. For questions about "Water/Ways," contact LEH Grants Manager Chris Robert at

This exhibition tour is made possible by the BHP-funded project "Coastal Impacts: An Integrated Approach for Community Adaptation, Understanding, and Planning," which assists local communities to build intergenerational coastal literacy through community conversations around books, film and exhibitions, fostering greater understanding of and support for coastal restoration projects.