Monday, October 29, 2012

Pasadena's Water Centennial exhibit Nov. 1-30

Water:  we take it for granted.  Yet, without water – for drinking, cooking, cleaning, irrigating, power, etc. – this flourishing City could not exist.  Do you ever wonder how the water from your tap gets there? Where it comes from? Who is making sure it is safe for you to drink? 
            Beginning November 1, Pasadena Water and Power (PWP), in collaboration with Pasadena Museum of History (PMH), invites everyone to think about the complex issues, engineering marvels, and hundreds of workers devoted to water needs, ensuring that your water source is reliable, safe, and plentiful.  Celebrating Pasadena’s Water Centennial, on view November 1-30, 2012 at Pasadena Central Library, will tell the story of water in this region, and explain the crucial role PWP has played in forming a consolidated water service that has provided the lifeblood for our City over the past century.  The exhibition is free and open for public viewing during Library hours.
            A Public Reception with City officials, PWP General Director Phyllis Currie, and other community VIPs will take place at 12:30 to 1:30 pm on Wednesday, November 7 in the Front Courtyard surrounding the Fountain at Pasadena Central Library.  Everyone is invited to join the festivities and enjoy complimentary refreshments along with viewing the exhibit.  For additional Water Centennial information, please visit
            Pasadena Central Library is located at 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena 91101; parking is available in the Library lot and on surrounding streets. The exhibition is on view during regular Library hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Mondays through Thursdays; 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Fridays and Saturdays; and 1:00 to 5:00 pm Sundays. Library information: 626.744.4066 or online at
Exhibition Details
            Celebrating Pasadena’s Water Centennial will tell the story of the City’s water history through seven exhibition stations, located throughout the Library.  In addition, take-home materials will offer interactive water-themed activities for all ages, ranging from games and art projects for children to hikes and walking/biking/driving tours of important water sites and features.
·         Entryways:  Although visitors may view the exhibits in any order they wish, the Library’s two entryways will feature a General Overview of the Pasadena water story.  In the Front Lobby (Walnut St. entrance), the Pasadena Water Timeline will be displayed on large freestanding panels.  The Library’s North Entrance Display Cases (parking lot entrance) will ground viewers in the trajectory of the Pasadena water story, from hauling your bucket down to the “zanja” (irrigation ditch) to hooking up your tap to the Colorado River.  Controversy over water rights, important local personalities in the quest for water, and the formation of PWP all figure into this presentation.

·         Humanities Wing: Displays in the Humanities Wing will explore the theme of conservation, including discussion of our climate -- the white settlers’ concept of an “Arroyo Seco” versus the Native American view of a “flowing waters, fruitful valley.”

·         Business Wing: Construction projects will be the focus of the Display Cases in the Business Wing.  Using the Morris Dam as a prime example, we will explore PWP’s various engineering feats – both historical and those projected for the future.

·         Centennial Room: The Centennial Room cases will explore the theme of water quality and investigate the science of drinking water, including information on bottled versus tap water and control of disease outbreaks and other contaminants. Vintage lab equipment to modern-day methodologies will provide a fascinating look at a crucial issue.

·         Children’s Materials: A display outside the Children’s Area will focus entirely on interactive materials geared to younger viewers.  In addition, a Water Discovery Table in the Front Lobby’s South Hall will offer a number of take-home items for children and adults. 

·          Extras: Find the water fountain and other Library water features for mini-presentations that show them as working examples of the PWP story.
The historic tools, equipment, photographs, documents, maps, and ephemera that will be on display in this exhibition are from the archives ad storage facilities of Pasadena Water and Power with additional materials on loan from Pasadena Museum of History, John Morris, and the Tongva Native Americans.  Celebrating Pasadena’s Water Centennial is being designed and curated by Pasadena Museum of History in collaboration with PWP.
Additional Programs
            This Exhibition inaugurates a full year of Water Centennial activities.  November 2012 programs include:
            November 13 – The Future of Water: Panel Discussion at Armory Center
            November 27 – Pasadena’s Role in 20th Century Water Works: Panel Discussion at Pasadena Central Library
 Now through January 20 – Facing the Sublime in Water, CA: Art Exhibit & Programs at Armory Center
 Current Academic Year – Water in the “Green Curriculum”: water history and conservation presented in 2nd& 3rd grade PUSD classrooms
 Please visit for details on future centennial events.

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