The Ontario Museum of History & Art presents Built on Water: Ontario and Inland Southern California, the new permanent exhibit that focuses on the history and future of water in the Ontario region, and brings together the story of local water agencies, regional tribes, agriculture, water conservation, and the creation of the City of Ontario. The free family-friendly and educational exhibit is now open with a Community Reception taking place Saturday, August 19 from 6-9 pm, in conjunction with the quarterly Ontario Art Walk.
“We have been working on bringing this exhibit to life for the past five years and are very excited to finally open the doors and be able to share information about the importance of clean, reliable water for our region,” said Marissa Kucheck, Museum Arts & Culture Director. “Water is such a precious resource and even though it played a very prominent role in the region’s development there is only a finite amount available to us. If, as a community, we can understand our water footprint and the small changes we can make in our daily lives it can help conserve for future generations. That is what this exhibit is about.”
The exhibit was designed for all ages as well as for different ways of learning. Interactive elements of the exhibit that visitors will be able to enjoy include:
- Historical Artifacts: Unique artifacts tied to the history of water in the region like an 1800s supply trolley that was used during the construction of the San Antonio Canyon water tunnels and canned water that were produced by Ontario’s oldest-running business, the Graber Olive House.
- Mobile App: The Water Keepers app will be available for download on your phone, and it explores the past, present, and future of water management through choose-your-own-adventure storytelling and puzzle challenges.
- Virtual Reality: A virtual reality experience that will bring to life the impact that water has on the migration of the Monarch Butterfly in our region.
- Community Voices: Listen to different members of the community talk about how water impacts their work and daily lives.
- Science: Technical information about the water cycle, well systems, and more.
“Sharing and caring for our water resources is vital for a thriving community,” said Miriam Valle-Mancilla, Curator of Education. “Starting from our youngest learners to our most loyal museum visitors – we’re excited to share this exhibit that involved so many of our community partners and resources.”
The history of water development, distribution, and conservation has a huge continuing impact on the City of Ontario and the surrounding area of Inland, Southern California, as well as its continued prosperity into the future. By focusing on local and tangible history, including the traditional ecological knowledge of the Tongva/Gabrielino community and regional indigenous tribes in stewarding and caring for water resources and the environment, as well as partnering with other area water-related institutions, archives, and collections, the exhibit aims to increase empathy, access, and engagement on the vital issue of water conservation.
“The artifacts and images on display throughout the exhibit come not only from the Museum’s own collection, but from local water agencies, archives, cultural institutions, personal collections, and businesses,” said Michelle Sifuentes, Curator of Collections. “Each item and image tell a story about water, from the remnants of an old redwood domestic water pipe and the Chaffey Fountain to the images of the Tongva/Gabrielino community and the citrus groves of the past.”
The Community Reception will include music, food, artist vendors, hands-on activities spotlight tours, and more. In the Museum Plaza, there will be a variety of artist vendors with their artwork available for purchase. There will also be a selection of community organizations and businesses hosting informational booths, educational presentations, and demos representing themes of the Built on Water exhibit.
The Ontario Museum of History & Art is located at 225 S. Euclid Avenue, Ontario, CA 91762. Hours are Thursday and Friday, Noon to 4 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM to 5 PM. Admission to the Museum and exhibit is free. To learn more about Built on Water visit, www.ontariomuseum.org/built-on-water/.
The Built on Water exhibit is made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services with additional support from the City of Ontario and the Ontario Municipal Utilities Company.