Traveling Water Exhibit Kicks off this Weekend


Great Lakes Small Streams: How Water Shapes Wisconsin, a water-themed traveling exhibit from the Wisconsin Historical Society, will visit Mineral Point from June 6 through 19. The exhibit will be located at the Old Bank Building at 203 High Street. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.  Sponsored by the Mineral Point Historical Society, both the exhibit and presentation are free and open to the public.

To kick off the exhibit, Lynne Diebel, author of Crossing the Driftless: A Canoe Trip through a Midwestern Landscape, will share her experience crossing from southern Minnesota to Stoughton, Wisconsin, with her husband in a canoe. Her slideshow presentation will take place Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m. at Orchard Lawn in Mineral Point.

Diebel will share tales of the history, geology, and geography of the Driftless Area she and her husband crossed. Traveling 359 river miles by river and portage, they paddled downstream on the Cannon and Mississippi rivers and upstream on the Wisconsin River, in the tradition of voyageurs. She will tell of our landscape of bluffs, ridges, and valleys inhabited first by native Americans and later by European settlers. She will have copies of her book available for sale at her OL event.

The Water exhibit, which includes 16 large, freestanding panels, is traveling to nature centers, schools, libraries, and historical organizations primarily in the state’s Lake Michigan coastal communities. It features an interactive kiosk that allows visitors to track the movement of glaciers, follow changes made to local rivers over time, or seek out easy solutions to save water in their own homes. It will stimulate visitors to think about and discuss how people interact with the environment – with emphasis on how our relationship with water shaped Wisconsin’s past and will continue to shape its future.

The Great Lakes region is home to one of the largest freshwater resources on the planet. That water shaped the landscape, history, and communities of our state. The traveling exhibit “Great Lakes Small Streams: How Water Shapes Wisconsin” explores our state’s long relationship with water and the impact we have had on our vast waterways.


It is impossible to fully understand Wisconsin’s history, culture, and prospects for the future without an appreciation of water’s power. Our water creates opportunities, influences decisions, and shapes the events that become our shared story. To experience and fully appreciate life in Wisconsin today, and to make decisions that will chart the course of our future, it is essential that we understand the historical role water plays in shaping our land, economy, culture, and spirit.

The Great Lakes Small Streams exhibit teaches audiences about our relationship with water as a state. The exhibit will place many of our current concerns in a historical context and show how our state was changed over time by the force of water. Visitors will see the consequences—good and bad—or past decisions and will be challenged to incorporate insights they gain into actions that can secure a more hopeful future for all of us regarding water.

The Mineral Point Historical Society gratefully acknowledges the Herzfeld Foundation, Wisconsin Humanities Council, and Ralph Evinrude Foundation for their generous support of this exhibit. Mineral Point Historical Society programming is supported by the generosity of its members and friends.

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