Review: Museum of Water (the Storey)

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Museum of Water began in March 2013 with Amy Sharrocks, an artist, simply collecting water from all over the UK. As awareness rose for the growing art collection, people started donating water in jars, bottles and other containers. Leading up to the two year mark she has collected over 600 bottles of water. These bottles contain stories of people from the UK and some have even been brought back from different countries. Many people have heard about the exhibition overseas and flown over to the UK specifically to hand over their precious water to Amy.

After touring the country and securing an exhibition spot in Denmark, the collection has found its way to The Storey Institute in Lancaster and will be available for the next viewing from February 20th – 22nd. The exhibition is split into two sections; the water laid out in cabinets with a simple description written on a small piece of paper including who donated it and a washing line formation of A4 sheets stating the water that the visitors would have brought if they could have. For example, one young girl wrote she would bring the water from her nose that would come out when she laughed with water in her mouth and so on. Apart from when the collection was showcased at the Somerset House, London in June of last year and they had to have 13 members of staff due to its capacity and the extent of the exhibition, there are only three members of staff at the exhibition, Amy herself, Mary and Alanna, who all know about 80% of the bottles stories. However, insists it hasn’t been too difficult to learn them as they simply learnt them on the way.

Anyone can donate and can have any story linked to their water. One woman bought a container and breathed into it leaving a residue of water from the condensation that has remained there for about a year. Another woman brought the water from her a tap in her home but had lived there for 30 years and likes to think of it as the same water she drunk all those years ago and now her grandchildren are drinking water from the same tap too.

The exhibition itself is touring and collecting donations until the end of 2015 and then Amy will look into finding a permanent place for the water, as when they are not touring, they are being stored in her studio. Alanna, originally from New Zealand, admitted the problem is finding people to learn the stories and share them, so they currently provide photographs of all the donations of water on their website and are hoping in the future, when a permanent exhibition is secured, to have a recording that visitors can listen to, telling the stories as they make their way around the exhibition. Although Amy is an artist, the exhibition doesn’t necessarily have to attract art enthusiasts. With such an large collection, there is sure to be a bottle that appeals to you and that you can connect with. The best thing about this exhibition, is that you can actually be a part of it and you can find out more information on the Museum of Water website.

The Museum of Water will be returning to the Storey Institute on Friday-Sunday, week 6.

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