Project Round
Project Number
Research Organisation
Museum Victoria - Melbourne Museum

Water Smart Home Exhibition: Demonstrating Household Water Conservation

The Challenge

Driven by Victoria’s ongoing water shortages, Museum Victoria identified the need and opportunity to educate the community about water conservation. An ideal location to deliver key water saving messages to the community, due to the high number of visitors, was through the Melbourne Museum.

The Museum acknowledged that for this project to be successful, it would need to be practical and tangible in a way that would inspire people to follow and act on some simple steps to save water in their own home, regardless of age or background.

The particular challenge was to creatively demonstrate how we can all use water responsibly every day.

The Museum also wanted an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those people in our community who have adopted ‘water wise’ practices. Often referred to as “Water Heroes” – these are everyday people in everyday homes that are able to share their water saving experiences.

The Project

A Smart Water Fund grant was awarded to Museum Victoria to assist in the development of a Water Smart Home project with three major components – a water-activated exhibit at the Museum, an interactive website and a series of ongoing public programs.

The concept was developed through community participation and the collective knowledge of a wide range of educators, water industry representatives and community groups.

The three components of the project are:

  1. The exhibit –This highly interactive display demonstrates inspiring and realistic ways to reduce domestic water use. The exhibit is a natural magnet for children who can explore, touch and wonder at the feel and uses of water, with the ultimate aim of educating them about the need to be water smart.
  2. The website – This features a collection of community stories of experiences and ideas from ‘water wise’ people whose achievements can educate and inspire others.
  3. The public programs – These drawing on real examples of water smart households. Forums, displays, performances, art installations and tours provide ongoing information to Museum visitors and ensure water conservation remains on the public’s agenda.

The Outcome

Lessons Learnt

Museum Victoria has gathered an important and useful reference source of valuable lessons about water saving measures and packaged this to educate and influence the community in relation to water saving.

An important characteristic of the project was in providing real life water saving examples that other people can relate to and be inspired by.

The project has also:

  • Provided information to the Victorian Parliamentary research study into Sustainable Communities.
  • Begun development work on a CD-ROM project that will feature children telling their stories of water and how it is precious to their lives.
  • Allowed the Museum to adopt its own water saving initiatives, including becoming a partner in the Watermark Australia community dialogue project
  • Provided an evaluation of this project, which indicates a higher awareness of water management issues through the exhibit and various visitor programs.

The Benefits

“Museum Victoria has positioned itself as an important, accessible avenue for educating and inspiring Melburnians to reduce their water use,” says Project Manager, Liza Dale-Hallett. “An increase in visitor numbers during the course of the exhibition suggests our early success.”

The Water Smart Home exhibition raises community awareness, stimulates discussion and provides accurate information to encourage water saving habits in the home.

In May 2005, the Water Smart Home was recognised with a gold award in the science category of the prestigious American Association of Museums’ 2005 MUSE awards. This showcased the Museum and the water program to the world.

Supporting documents