The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., which is visited by millions of Americans each year, and in a recent Harris Brand-Quality survey was ranked No. 1 in reach and quality in the world, is planning a new public exhibition, On the Water: Stories from Maritime America. Opening is anticipated in 2008.
This major exhibition, together with a website and a teachers’ package that will be distributed nationally, will highlight the all-important maritime influence in American history and then bring that great story right up to the 21st century. Our country began as a maritime nation, and – today – our economy depends on our maritime connections.
Few modern Americans appreciate any of this vital history or realize our critical dependence on maritime commerce. For those who appreciate the history of the sea and want that story told publicly and in a highly visible way, On the Water presents an unparalleled opportunity. Ever since the 1980s, all exhibitions and programs at the
Smithsonian have depended on private support, and On the Water is no different. Only the maritime industry can make this project happen.
On the Water will be on view for a minimum of 20 years, in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, on the National Mall between the Capitol and the White House.
The museum receives 5 million visitors a year, and 7 to 10 million across America access the museum’s exhibitions each year in classrooms and at home computers.
On the Water will cover 8,000 square feet and is organized chronologically into seven sections, from the 17th Century to the beginning of the 21st: “The Atlantic World,” “Maritime Nation,” “Harvesting the Sea,” “Inland Waterways,” “Crossing Oceans,” “Answering the Call,” and “Modern Maritime America.” Project director Paula
Johnson says that more than 200 artifacts, 300 graphics, and many interactive video components are included. In addition, “virtual field trips” – electronically connecting classrooms with real-life maritime experiences – are also planned.
Brand quality is always of interest, and the Smithsonian’s is next to none: Reflecting the Smithsonian’s reach and value to Americans, a 2003 Harris Brand Quality survey of 1,152 world-class brands found that the Smithsonian ranked No. 1 overall in public perception.
For more information about On the Water, contact either Paula Johnson, Project Director, at 202.633.3908 and