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  Smithsonian's 'Water|Ways' Exhibit Opens in Channahon
  Posted: 1/30/2017
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Visitors streamed into the Forest Preserve District of Will County's Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon for Saturday’s opening of the “Water|Ways” exhibit, which will be on display through March 11.

Penny Vanderhyden of Elwood brought her three grandchildren, Grace, 7 and twins Nora and Nathan, 5.

"I wanted to bring them out because I like introducing them to nature," Vanderhyden said as her grandchildren explored one of the exhibit panels.

The free, family-friendly exhibit is a collaboration of the Washington D.C.-based Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program and Illinois Humanities. The exhibit explores the significance of water in the human experience.

"The fact that it’s from the Smithsonian is awesome,” Vanderhyden said. “I’ve never been there, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get there.”'
Charles and Virginia Gruntman of Channahon also toured the exhibit on opening day.

"We've always been interested in water," Charles Gruntman said. "In our travels around the country, we stop and look at various things and some are created by water, such as the Grand Canyon. And (water) has been the lifeblood of some civilizations such as the Mound Builders of Illinois. … You had to be near water to survive."

Tim and JoAnn Monge of Naperville said the learned of the exhibit from the Forest Preserve District’s Facebook page.

"I watch that for cool things to do because we live in Will County … and this looked like a fun one," Monge said.

The Monges were accompanied by their adult son, Tim, who has a biology degree with a specialization in water.

Tim Monge said it’s nice that the Forest Preserve District is offering educational exhibits in addition to preserved open spaces. And he was especially interested in the water-themed exhibit because of his training as a biologist.

"It's really taken for granted," he said of water. "No one thinks about it."

Officials from the Forest Preserve District cut a ribbon to open the traveling exhibit, which concludes its multi-month tour of the state with the Channahon stop.

"The Forest Preserve District is the last chance Illinoisans will have to see this fantastic exhibit in our state, but it's the first of such large-scale exhibits we hope to bring to you in the future," said Ralph Schultz, the District's chief operating officer.

The exhibit includes videos, interactive displays, photos and fact-laden panels as well as complementary exhibits created by Forest Preserve staff and 25 related programs that will be held at Four Rivers through the exhibit’s stay and beyond.

Around 140 people toured the exhibit on Saturday and they came from a wide variety of towns including: Braidwood, Channahon, Custer Park, Glenview, Joliet, Lockport, Minooka, Naperville, New Lenox, Orland Park, Ottawa, Plainfield, and Streamwood. Out-of-town visitors came from Ohio and Wisconsin.

Exhibit hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (except February 16, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.); Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; closed Monday.

Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock
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