Join the Niles History Center for these upcoming programs and events!

The Smithsonian is coming to Niles! 

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From January 5 to February 16, Niles will host the Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways. The exhibit is part of the national Museum on Main Street program. Water/Ways explores the essential role that water plays in our environment and society. Niles, along with 5 other sites in Michigan, was selected for the exhibit from nearly 30 applicants. The Niles District  Library (620 E. Main Street) will display the exhibit, while the History Center will offer a companion exhibit on how water has shaped the history of our City. Special programs will take place, with nearby organizations as partners, including Fernwood Nature Center, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission and more. The exhibit will coincide with the Hunter Ice Festival. 

Throughout the globe, water holds extensive cultural value as a symbol of power and force, grace and fluidity, and healing and cleansing. Water is also a natural resource that has dictated migration patterns, affected economic prosperity, and shaped communities throughout time, and continues to be one of Earth’s most defining resources. Here in Michigan, the value of water as both a human resource and a cultural symbol is both understood and treasured, and we are thrilled to be bringing this exhibit to the Great Lakes state.

A statewide Great Lakes-specific exhibit will also travel to each host location, as part of The Great Lakes Water Heritage Project, offered by The Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Humanities Council, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Kalamazoo Nature Center, and Michigan State University. It will feature regional and local Great Lakes history, facts, and simple ways for people to be everyday water stewards. A grant from The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation to Michigan Humanities Council will support 3 years of funding for this portion of the program.

To explore our local water story, the Fort St. Joseph Museum will host a companion exhibit on local waterways. In addition to a display of related items from the Museum’s collections, special labels will be placed throughout the permanent exhibits at the Fort St. Joseph Museum to connect the story of our community’s water ways. 

Water/Ways has been made possible in Michigan by the Michigan Humanities Council. Water/Ways is parts of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils across the country. Support from Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. 

Water/Ways Schedule of Programs 
Programs take place at Niles District Library unless noted otherwise 

Friday, January 11, 4-7pm: Grand Opening Celebration 

Saturday, January 12, 1pm: Who Lives in the St. Joe River, presented by Wendy Jones, Fernwood Nature Preserve

Monday, January 14, 6pm: Sushi with Chef Daysha, sponsored by Martin Super Markets  **class full**

Saturday, January 19, 10am-5:30pm: 
 Hunter Ice Festival Warming Station 

Thursday, January 24, 6:30pm: FLOW in the St. Joe,  presented by Matt Meersman, St. Joseph River Basin Commission, and Kris Martin, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission 

Saturday, January 26, 10am: St. Joseph River Fisheries, presented by Brian Gunderman, Michigan Department of Natural Resources **program at Fernwood Nature Preserve (13988 Range Line Road Niles, MI 49120)**

Thursday, January 31, 6:30pm: Honor and Protect: Traditional Potawatomi Waterways, presented by Andy Jackson, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi 

Saturday, February 2, 1:00pm: Niles Waterwater Treatment Plant Tour, please call 269-683-8545 to register **tour meets at Niles Wastewater Treatment Plant (21 Marmont Street)**

Thursday, February 7, 6:30pm: Powered by Water: Early Niles Industry, presented by Mollie Watson, Niles History Center

Monday, February 11, 6:30pm: Keep it Blue, presented by Christopher J. Quattrin, Berrien County Drain Commissioner

Saturday, February 16, 2-6pm: Water/Ways Expo and Closing Celebration 

For more information, please call the Niles District Library at 269-683-8545 or visit . 
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