WHYY: Exhibition Traces a 200-Year History of Water Pollution in Philadelphia

Local public media outlet features Institute’s new ‘Downstream’ exhibition.

Downstream, the Science History Institute’s new exhibition that explores 200 years of water analysis and protection, is featured on WHYY as part of its Watershed series. The public media outlet spoke to research curator Jesse Smith, who explains how people could see, smell, and taste contaminants in the waterways throughout Philadelphia in the late 1700s.

“It was biological,” said Smith. “Waste from industries like tanning, like brewing, animals that were left to rot in waterways, and also vast amounts of human waste.”

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Above: Research curator Jesse Smith stands in front of a Downstream display in the Institute’s museum. Kimberly Paynter/WHYY