Museum of Water, UK/travelling

Museum of Water, London, UK/travelling

Museum of Water is a museum and live artwork, which invites people to gather water: any water in any bottle. It is an invitation to re-consider water for ourselves and to notice the ways it moves through our days, encouraging people to look closely at this extraordinary substance and detail the way it impacts on our lives. We ask people, if you could keep one water, what would you keep? We have over 1200 bottles in the collection worldwide, each of which details a different way of looking at water.

The Museum began in 2013 and has travelled to over 50 sites worldwide, touring across the UK, Europe and Western Australia over the last 4 years. This unusual museum has enjoyed spectacular public engagement: Museum of Water has been visited by over 65,000 people, and was nominated for European Museum of the Year 2016. We present a radical challenge to previous systems of collecting and to traditional processes and economies: we treasure a substance and experience that we cannot hold onto, the process of evaporation itself.


This Museum houses a collection that is entirely publicly donated, and prizes the gifts people have given us, just as they come. This makes each one of us donor, artist and curator, changing the relationship between the Museum and the public. Every act of choosing and gathering is a creative act, each bottle and contents a profound undertaking that commemorates a reaching out to nature with our minds and bodies. This is a museum that remembers your words: there are custodians who look after the bottles, who can explore the collection with you, accession new bottles, who listen carefully and who remember your phrases.

Museum of Water is an act of witness to our lives lived with water. The Museum provides a platform for different voices and is an instigating force for future care of the planet. Through our close scrutiny and careful ways of listening, we support individual responsibility and bravery for the coming century: how to look more closely and not look away.

Museum of Water was founded by Artist Amy Sharrocks and is produced by Artsadmin in London, UK.

Museum website:


Cultural Programmes

At each site we develop a rigorous cultural programme for the serious investigation of water.

We know that this Museum operates in context with the world and the questions facing us. So we have partnered with anthropologists from Denmark, Oxford and Lancaster Unis, with Delft TU and Erasmus University, the University of Western Australia, the Canal and Rivers Trust, the Oceans Institute and the WA Museum.

At every site in Australia we worked with indigenous elders to introduce us to the landscape and their understanding of country and its rich history; we curated walks uncovering hidden WA ecologies, tracing the former shorelines of Perth and Walyalup; we took people out onto water via surfboards and kayaking trips. In Rotterdam we created an extraordinary sound gallery with the sounds of tribes around the world who made music with, for or about water.

The full Museum of Water Perth programme can be viewed here:

The full Museum of Water Rotterdam programme can be viewed here:

The Midsummer Water Day programme for Somerset House, London, can be viewed here:




Museum of Water: Environmental Influence

As live artwork and museum, Museum of Water is a chorus of voices from all ages, races and social backgrounds, which is influenced by each donor; it changes shape with each new gift and comment. It seeks to engender a new relationship between people and the world, a responsibility for care, fostering the role of ‘custodian’ in each of us.

Water is the most important substance for human life. Questions of access, ownership and care will define the coming century: this Museum seeks to equip people to play an active role in the situations and debates to come.

Water Bar

We work towards good health and well-being for everyone: situated on the street, our Water Bar offers a glass of our finest to every passerby, a welcome smile and ready conversation. Listening carefully is a prized tenet of this Museum and is a special process of care that we offer to all. We are a multi sensory experience, which engages our senses of smell, sight, touch, hearing and taste, as well as the sense of proprioception, our sense of place in the world.

We support quality education by helping everyone to understand current water issues and future care. We explore water systems and management, questions of poldering and water sharing, water law, salination and ownership rights, local and global issues affecting us all.

We explore questions of clean water and sanitation worldwide through talks with scientists and anthropologists, as well as curating artworks that teach us how to distill water.

Museum of Water: Sustainable Development Goals

We look at different energies in the world, how to split hydrogen from water to create energy, hydrology and hydroelectricity. We work to reduce inequality, constantly trying to hear different voices and engage diverse and marginalised communties. The Museum is a site that cherishes difference and hears everyone equally, disbanding the usual hierarchy and imposing atmospheres of museums. If “being heard is a kind of wealth” (R Solnit), then this Museum helps to re-distribute that wealth.

We look at sustainable cities and communities by curating talks programmes featuring architects and engineers, looking at the urban management of water. We have housed working interactive models of breathable city engineering to explore how cities can work with water. We work with writers and poets to imagine future water worlds.

We take steps towards responsible consumption, production and climate action through our support for environmental behaviour change with our library, our conversation, live artworks and debates.

We explore life below water through our different curations, and how it relates to life on land: talks on ecology and the environment, art exhibitions by different artists, debates with marine biologists, swimmers and oceanographers, writers and poets, geographers and anthropologists.

Museum of Water: Public Programmes

At each site, Museum of Water curates wide, cross-cultural programmes to explore questions of water: migration, fear, climate change and urbanisation through science, literature, ecology and anthropology, music and play.

We go beyond academic programmes and workshops: at each site there could be sound artworks and live artworks exploring environmental themes and human relationships. We remember to cherish the importance of playing with water, and have organised water games, curated water music from around the world, and have taken people out to sea with surfers to read the waves.

Museum of Water: UK Public Programme

In the UK we partnered with academics and writers across the country, from Kings College London, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, Lancaster University to develop programmes looking at the sound of water, the language of water and the politics of water.

Museum of Water: The Netherlands Public Programme

In The Netherlands we worked with TU Delft and Erasmus University to look at our fear of water and water law, questions of poldering and the engineering of water, tracing water out from human bodies across cityscapes and out into future worlds of science fiction.

Museum of Water: Australian Public Programme

In Australia we built a public event programme to equip people for a drier future. We initiated many public discussions on water, bringing together experts from different disciplines to look at the issues facing Australia and WA from all points of view. We gathered artists, environmental activists, water lawyers, farmers and indigenous elders. We organised water distilling workshops, boat building workshops and ceramics water carrying workshops. We staged the live artwork, How to Have a 3 minute Shower, as well as walks uncovering the hidden ecologies and former shorelines of Perth and Walyalup. We invited indigenous elders to introduce the land to us, to share their connection to country, and to explore the landscape and history of each site in long public talks and later shared as podcasts, Conversations on Water.


Treasuring Evaporation: the radical challenge of a Museum of Water, a major thesis on the work of Museum of Water, has just been collected in the book, Climate Change and Museums: critical approaches to engagement and management.