Treasuring Evaporation: The Radical Challenge of a Museum of Water

  • Amy SharrocksEmail author
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Museum of Water invites people to gather water: any water in any bottle, encouraging people to look closely at this extraordinary substance and detail the way it impacts on their life. It is both live artwork and museum, a chorus of voices from all ages, races and social backgrounds, influenced by each donor, changing shape with each new gift and comment. This is a museum that remembers your words; it moves beyond treating people as visitors or audience, instead making everyone donor, curator, protagonist and custodian. It seeks to engender a new relationship between people and the world, a responsibility for care, fostering the role of custodian in each of us. Museum of Water began in 2013 and has travelled to 50 sites worldwide, been visited by over 60,000 people, and was nominated for European Museum of the Year 2016. It has used its work to curate wide, cross-cultural programmes to explore questions of water, migration, fear, climate change and urbanisation through science, literature, ecology and anthropology, music and play. Water is the most important substance for human life, and is the substance at the front line of Climate Change. Questions of access, ownership and care will define the coming century: this Museum and its programmes help to equip people to play an active role in the situations and debates to come. This paper details the work of this unusual museum, exploring its spectacular public engagement and the radical challenge it presents to previous systems of collecting and to traditional processes and economies, how it treasures a substance and experience that we cannot hold onto, the process of evaporation itself. Museum of Water is an act of witness, providing a platform for different voices, and an instigating force for future care. This paper will look at the different systems and ways of listening it promotes, supporting responsibility and bravery for the coming century: how to look more closely and not look away.


Water Museum Climate change Evaporation Custodian 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museum of WaterLondonUK

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