Museum on Mainstreet – Bring the Smithsonian to your town, Application due May 1



Oklahoma Humanities (OH) invites museums, libraries, historical societies, and other community nonprofit organizations in towns with fewer than 20,000 residents to apply to host the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition called Water/Ways.  The exhibit will tour five Oklahoma communities from July 2019 through April 2020.

Water/Ways is our sixth Smithsonian tour,” said Ann Thompson, OH Executive Director.  “Over the years, we’ve seen how these exhibits act as a catalyst for projects in communities that normally wouldn’t have the resources to bring in exhibits of this caliber.”

Hosting a Museum on Main Street exhibition offers a community a rare opportunity to increase visitation, visibility, and civic pride.  Host sites for each six-week exhibition will be selected based on geographic location, evidence of strong community support, strength of proposed ideas for supplementary events, and physical event space.

OH staff may conduct site visits to collect additional information prior to the final host site selection.  Applications are due May 1, 2018.  Oklahoma Humanities will work with a community’s host organization every step of the way to ensure a successful tour.

About Water/Ways

The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition dives into water—an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically.

In societies across the globe, water serves as a source of peace and contemplation.  Many faiths revere water as a sacred symbol.  Authors and artists are inspired by the complex character of water—a substance that is seemingly soft and graceful that is yet a powerful and nearly unstoppable force. 

Water also plays a practical role in American society.  The availability of water affected settlement and migration patterns.  Access to water and control of water resources have long been a central part of political and economic planning.  Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.

Building on this national theme, host sites in Oklahoma will develop complementary programming or exhibits that highlight water issues in their community.  OH will provide a state humanities scholar to assist in developing programs that share the local narrative of the Smithsonian exhibit’s theme.

Host site applications are available online at  For more information about this opportunity, please contact OH program officer, Kelly Burns at kelly@okhumanities or (405) 235-0280.  For more information on Museum on Main Street, please visit

About Oklahoma Humanities

Oklahoma Humanities (OH) is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understand new perspectives, and participate knowledgeably in civic life through humanities disciplines such as history, literature, film studies, art criticism, and philosophy.  As the state partner for the National Endowment for the Humanities, OH provides a free educational magazine, Smithsonian Institution exhibits, reading and discussion groups, and other cultural opportunities for Oklahomans of all ages.  OH engages people in their own communities, stimulating discussion and helping them explore the wider world of human experience.