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How to Get to the River

August 3–October 30, 2022

How to get to the river 

Produced by New Paradise Laboratories  
$7 or free with Academy admission 

Hours:  

  • 10:15 a.m.–3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 
  • 10:15 a.m.–6:45 p.m. Friday 

How to Get to the River is an urban watershed adventure walk that leads participants from the Academy of Natural Sciences down Cherry Street through a micro-watershed of the Schuylkill River. The experience will initiate an intimate conversation with the watershed as it informs our landscape, traverses our neighborhoods and underpins our lives.  

Scientists understand the watershed to be crucial to our homes, our livelihoods, our survival and the health of our communities. But what is a watershed, really? Can we see it, hear it, touch it? How does a watershed reveal itself in an urban landscape built from impervious streets, concrete sidewalks and underground sewers?  

How to Get to the River, developed by New Paradise Laboratories founder Whit MacLaughlin and core collaborators Laia and Pete Angevine, leads us to an embodied understanding of a vast geophysical system — scaling it to our lives, encouraging us to feel the watershed in our bones and viewing it as a portrait of water’s presence. It is an investigative walk that unveils the watershed’s bustling dynamism in a neighborhood immediately adjacent to the Academy of Natural Sciences, taking you down Cherry Street to the Schuylkill River and back. Follow visual cues, trail blazes, embedded sound experiences and other surprising moments that treat this urban watershed as a work of art. Become attuned to the evidence of water flow as it is imprinted on our urban landscape, noticing how it is channeled to the ground, courses across sloped roofs, gushes through rain gutters and splashes into underground storm drains. A serpentine clarinet fugue performed by British composer Shabaka Hutchings will accompany the journey.  

The walk culminates at the Schuylkill with the sound installation Inside the Watershed, a live composition created by environmental sound artist and composer Annea Lockwood and interactive sound artist Liz Phillips.  

The Academy commissioned the creative team of Pete Angevine, Laia and Whit MacLaughlin of New Paradise Laboratories to work with scientists from the Patrick Center for Environmental Research to develop How to Get to the River. The walk is part of Water Year 2022, a yearlong celebration and investigation of water designed to better connect us with our local waterways and the vital need to protect them.  

How to Get to the River is 1.5 miles long. It is free with Academy general admission, or you can purchase a standalone ticket for $7. Tickets for the standalone experience do not include museum admission.  

Timed tickets are required and can be purchased online or at the museum. Maximum of four walkers per time slot.  

Credits:

Creators: Pete Angevine, Laia, Whit MacLaughlin with Rohan Hejmadi and Salvador Placensia
Produced by: New Paradise Laboratories
Writing: Laia
Illustration: Tiffanie Young
Text Layout: Katie Hodge
Music: Shabaka Hutchings
Media design: Greenhouse Media
Remix & Sound Design: Ammon Freidlin

How to Get to the River is part of Watershed Moment, the signature artwork of the Academy’s Water Year celebration that provides fresh perspectives on the water systems that bind us together. Centered around the importance of watershed thinking in our lives, Watershed Moment is designed to inspire a greater connection with our local waterways and the vital need to protect them.

 

How to Get to the River has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage