Museum on Main Street

The Smithsonian Institution and the LEH have partnered to bring back Water/Ways, a powerful Museum on Main Street exhibition, to Louisiana.

During its first tour in 2018 and 2019, Water/Ways provided Louisiana communities a new opportunity to explore the myriad of ways that water affects residents’ lives.

The upcoming exhibition tour, which marks the ninth time the LEH has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution to host a Museum on Main Street tour, will arrive in Louisiana in May 2021 for a yearlong tour that stops in six sites, ending in March 2022.

Please note, applications to host the 2021–22 tour of Water/Ways are now closed. 

Additional Information

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. 

Final selection is conducted in partnership with the tour scholar and the Louisiana Main Street, a division of the state’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Per funder stipulations, four coastal sites and two inland sites will be awarded. 

The grant amount is $5,000 per site. Awarded sites will be encouraged to match funds through cash and in-kind cost share.

Museums, libraries, community centers, nature centers, and other cultural nonprofit organizations may apply to host the exhibition. Preference will be given to sites in towns with fewer than 20,000 residents.

 Eligible applicants must meet the following requirements: 

  • Site is open at least 5 days a week 
  • Site must offer at minimum 6 free public programs, such as lectures, oral history collections, film screening and discussions, reading and discussions, etc., in conjunction with exhibition 
  • Site can accommodate exhibition measuring 650 square feet, with at least an 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  

For questions about Water/Ways, please contact LEH Grants Manager Chris Robert at

For more information and resources, visit the Museum on Main Street website.

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 in building intergenerational coastal literacy through community conversations around books, film, and exhibitions, fostering greater understanding of, and support for, coastal restoration projects.