LECTURE: What is a Waterway Anyway?

Guest speaker is Daniel Rinn, PhD candidate at the University of Rochester

This lecture will encourage the public to reflect on the terms we use to describe our environment. By looking at a handful of historic “waterways” in New York, Rinn will examine the division between what is “natural” and “unnatural”.

Rinn will suggest that a waterway is more than a means of transporting goods or people. Waterways can transport ideas and culture as well.  The lecture proceeds to place waterways on a continuum – starting with “built” waterways and move to more “natural” examples.

The talk is framed around five moments or episodes in New York’s history: the construction of the Erie Canal, the Allegheny River and the Kinzua Dam, the Love Canal crisis, de facto segregation of city pools, as well as the proposed dam at Storm King Mountain along the Hudson River. 

The New York tour of the Water/Ways exhibition is made possible by the Museum Association of New York. The exhibition and programming was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Hadley Exhibits, Inc., the New York State Canal Corporation, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. 

IMAGE: Erie Canal Lock, Albany, N.Y., 1893, gelatin silver photographic print on card, Albany Institute of History & Art Library, Ser 5, n145, DI 449

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