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H2O Today


Global Water Story opens at the Iziko South African Museum

on show from 29 November 2018

Water is the most vital resource for life on Earth; no living thing exists without it.  Iziko Museums of South Africa will open a new exhibition, H2O Today, at the Iziko South African Museum on the 29th November 2018. The exhibition, organised by the Smithsonian Institution Travelling Exhibition Service (SITES), examines the diversity and challenges of water sources worldwide and promotes conversation, creativity and innovation through art, science and technology.

H2O Today is part of the Smithsonian’s #ThinkWater Initiative to raise awareness of water as a critical resource for life.  Using immersive content, interactive activities, and digital media, this international exhibition – supplemented with Iziko curated African content and collections objects – brings a global conversation at a critical time within the Western Cape context, having recently experienced the worst water crisis in living memory.

H2O Today dives into what it means to live on a planet where 71 percent of the surface is covered in water, of which less than three percent is drinkable. The exhibition highlights water’s criticality in daily life worldwide through water power, industry, agriculture and home use. It explores the science of water from the hydrological cycle, weather and climate to its physical power as an architect and sculptor of landscape. The exhibition showcases global examples and striking imagery augmented with audiovisual material that tells the story of Earth as the water planet, water as our home, ways that water shapes culture, rising tides and sea level rise, and innovative solutions to some of the planet’s greatest water challenges. 

The US Consul General to Cape Town, Ms Virginia Blaserhad first-hand experience of the extraordinary challenge the City and its residents faced during the height of the recent drought.  She said: “I am proud that the American people contributed more broadly to the drought-fighting effort, by changing our water-use habits,being water-wise, and by funding the Smithsonian Institution’s H2O Todayexhibit, and other Provincial and Municipal water projects. This special exhibition teaches us all that water scarcity is an issue we must combat together.”

An immersive 3D artwork of Victoria Falls, anthropology objects that chronicle the evolution of the water canister from an ostrich egg used by the Khoi San to the plastic water bottles that we use today, a selection of iconic images that document Cape Town’s water crisis, specimens from Iziko’s collections that showcase the aquatic life of Table Mountain and the two oceans flanking it, and a time lapse of tidal waters that influence Cape Town’s rich marine biodiversity, presents an African and local context.

Water scarcity is not a uniquely Cape Town story – it is a shared global phenomenon. This exhibition brought to South Africa in partnership with the US Consulate in Cape Town, and the Smithsonian Institution is an example of a multi-dimensional relationship enabling an inclusive conversation at this critical time.  It demonstrates how museums, through its exhibitions and programmes, can create awareness of relevant societal issues”, says Ms Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Unparalleled on the African continent, the Iziko South African Museum, situated in the prestigious precinct of the Company’s Garden, is the second oldest scientific institution in South Africa and an iconic Cape Town attraction The museum is a hub of indigenous knowledge generation, heritage, biodiversity and science geared towards creating better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present.

H2O Todayis on show daily from 09:00 until 17:00, at the Iziko South African Museum.



Issued by: Ellen Agnew 

Communications Coordinator: Iziko Museums of South Africa
Telephone: +27 (0) 21 481 3838 Cellphone: 0736803418
Email: Website http:                         
On behalf of: Office of the CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa




H2O Today is part of the Smithsonian’s Think Water Initiative to raise awareness of water as a critical resource for life through exhibitions, educational resources and public programmes. The public can participate in the conversation on social media at #thinkWater.

Organised by SITES, H2O Today was adapted from an exhibition put together by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City ( and the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul (, in collaboration with Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland; the Field Museum in Chicago; Instituto Sangari in São Paulo; National Museum of Australia in Canberra; Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada; San Diego Natural History Museum; and Science Centre Singapore with PUB Singapore.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programmes with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit



Iziko operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium and Digital Dome, the Social History Centre and three collection‑specific libraries in Cape Town.  The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage.  Iziko is a public entity and public benefit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure.  The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope, Groot Constantia and Planetarium and Digital Dome). Visit our webpage at, join our online community on Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions.

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