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POOL exhibit coming to Fairmount Water Works, after delay due to historic flooding
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POOL exhibit coming to Fairmount Water Works, after delay due to historic flooding

As climate change brings more precipitation to Philadelphia, a resiliency plan is essential for one museum to keep future exhibits coming.

A local museum on the front lines of climate change is already confronting rising waters.

Pool: A Social History of Segregation is coming to the Fairmount Water Works on Tuesday, March 22nd (aka World Water Day). The exhibit investigates the nation’s handling of race as it relates to public pools.

POOL project creator, creative director, and lead designer Victoria Prizzia worked with regional artists to create original site-specific work, inspired by the history, activism, and achievements of people of color, as related to swimming and water. “The more I learned about the connection between land use and healthy waterways, the more I could see that the story of all water is a story of social justice,” Prizzia says. “Where there’s irresponsible development, pollution, poor infrastructure, a lack of green space and buffers between land and water, there will also be compromised water bodies and systems—the vital and wondrous living systems we all depend on.”

However, the 4700 square foot exhibit was planned to open on September 3, 2021, and was delayed due to historic flooding after Hurricane Ida. The exhibition was spared from damage but serves as a foreshadowing of the impacts from climate change.

Fairmount Water Works is located on the banks of the Schuylkill River and has suffered damage from rising waters over the decades. The Fund for the Water Works has partnered with the Philadelphia Water Department and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to create a resiliency plan to minimize extreme flooding to the building and its plumping, electric, and HVAC systems.

 “The Fund’s Resiliency Committee and its City partners know that this now regular occurrence is not sustainable and will discourage future investment in the site and its programming by funders unless current conditions are remedied,” said Joanne Dahme, Fund for the Water Works board member.

If you go: POOL will open on Tuesday, March 22 (World Water Day) from 12:00 noon-5:00 p.m, and then every Wednesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m.  Admission is free. Fairmount Water Works is located at 640 Water Works Drive, Phila., PA.

Cover photo: REFLECTION POOL – Video installation by Liz Corman of twin synchronized swimmers Rachel and Brianna Holmes of the Santa Clara, California Aquamaid Artistic Swimming Club


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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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