A Webinar Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Fairmount Water Works
Thursday, May 12, 2022
12:00pm – 1:00pm
The Fairmount Water Works are one of Philadelphia’s most iconic sites, yet the least understood by locals. It’s even harder for out of towners to comprehend its significance when you tell them “you MUST visit our old municipal water processing facility. “ Yet an exploration of the space reveals a landmark that is a masterful marriage of classical form and innovative function. In its heyday, Fairmount water works certainly wasn’t a mystery to the average Philadelphian… or American for that matter. In the mid-19th century, it was a world famous tourist attraction— the most visited man-made attraction in America (only surpassed in numbers by a more natural “water feature”at Niagara Falls). Upon his visit in 1842, Charles Dickens called it “a place wondrous to behold.”
Join Water Works Executive Director Karen Young and education staff on a below-ground, behind-the-scenes tour to see the inner workings of the waterworks. We’ll also see the more modern amenities of the Interpretive Center, which includes classrooms and a fish laboratory.
We’ll also take a sneak peek at the recently opened multi-disciplinary art exhibition called
“POOL: A Social History of Segregation”, set in the former Kelly Natatorium in the lower level of the Water Works. The exhibition is an artistic and scholarly investigation into the role of public pools in America, with the goal of deepening the understanding and the connection between water, social justice and public health.
We’ll meet some of the artists and designers behind this ambitious exhibition.
MORE ABOUT THE WATER WORKS
Designed in 1812 by Frederick Graff and built between 1812 and 1872, it operated until 1909, winning praise for its design and becoming a popular tourist attraction. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976 for its architecture and its engineering innovations.
It now houses an interpretive center that explains the waterworks’ purpose and watershed history, managed by the Phila. Water Dept.
Here is the link to register for this event: