Okanagan Heritage Museum's exhibition explores human-water relationship

WATCH: An exhibit at the Okanagan Heritage Museum in Kelowna explores the human-water relationship in the Okanagan Valley and the Columbia River System and delivers cultural experience like none other. Sydney Morton has more on what can be explored.

Humans are 60 per cent water, the world is 71 per cent water and the latest exhibit at Kelowna’s Okanagan Heritage Museum is bringing the waterways of Kelowna to the forefront.

“Waterways explores human-water relationships in the Okanagan Valley and the Columbia River System,” states a press release.

“It is all about different perspectives on water and the importance of water and water sustainability and different ways of caring about water,” said Amanda Snyder, Kelowna Museums Society curatorial manager.

“We’ve got this great exhibition that’s very much focused on personal stories and perspectives as well as on the natural environment.”

“Visitors will discover the impact of development and climate change on the local environment. They will also learn about the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in ensuring all living things have clean water, now and in the future,” states a press release.

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The creation of the exhibit was led by UBC Okanagan professors and students along with community partners such as the En’owkin Centre. Researchers spent years compiling interviews from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working on water issues in the Okanagan.

“We live in a very diverse landscape and I think it’s very common for us as a society to forget that water is there for everything and not necessarily for us as humans,” said Sarah Alexis, Syilx researcher.

“All of those creeks, they need the water for all those fish and the aquatic insects and the plants need water for our headwaters in the top of mountains where we get a lot of beavers and ungulates …. that live up there with all of our medicines, it really is a connected system.”

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The exhibit showcases the way Kelowna became the city that it is today from what it was in the early 1900s with an interactive immersive video experience.

“It’s naturally a floodplain, and so by using 3D immersive exploratory gaming environments, we are able to reconstruct downtown Kelowna as it was when it was a wetland including all the other species and plant distribution,” said Miles Thorogood UBC Okanagan assistant professor.

Explore Waterways at Kelowna’s Okanagan Heritage Museum to gain a new perspective on water, the exhibit runs until Jan. 22.


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