You are here


Masks are preferred for all museum visitors.
For more information, please visit our COVID-19 Information page.

How do we understand how water moves, what it carries, the ways it can be threatened, and our choices for how to protect it?

Find out by taking a watery journey through history and science with Downstream, our current exhibition exploring more than 200 years of water analysis and protection in the Delaware Valley and beyond.


Panoramic view of Downstream

Panoramic view of Downstream.

Science History Institute/Emma Gothelf

Downstream, which has received awards from PA Museums and the American Association of State and Local History, is on view through August 5, 2023.

We All Live Downstream

Water flows from the tap and you drink it. It bubbles along creeks and you fish in it. It crashes on the beach and you splash in it. It puddles, evaporates, and rains down again, feeding streams, rivers, and oceans. Water is constantly flowing around us, through the natural world of streams, rivers, bays, and oceans, and in the scientific spaces of laboratories, water treatment plants, agricultural irrigation systems, and municipal pipes. As water moves from place to place and use to use, our demands on it change, too.

Learn more about the history of water by exploring the resources, articles, podcasts, and videos below.

Research  |   Read  |   Listen  |   Watch


Are you a researcher, teacher, or student interested in the history of water? Explore the images, advertisements, documents, and oral histories in our digital collections. Or learn about the important individuals who worked on, in, and around water in our historical biographies.


Do you like reading compelling narratives in the history of science? Enjoy these articles on water and history from Distillations, our digital magazine.


Enjoy listening to stories about the past?  Check out these water-related episodes of our acclaimed Distillations podcast series.


Looking for sights, sounds, and history? Watch these clips for more on the meetup of water, science, and history.

Downstream is made possible in part by a Cultural and Historical Support Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Additional support has been provided by the Alafi Family Foundation, and through a Science Initiative Grant from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh Downstream is also made possible by the support of lending institutions including the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Delaware River Basin Commission, the Independence Seaport Museum, and the Philadelphia Water Department.