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Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities

Water Ways On-line Exhibition

Frequently Asked Questions

The Water Ways on line exhibition is a rich and multi layered site, full of text, photos, audio and video clips, and links to related sites. This much information can be daunting to users. The following are FAQs to help you find out more about using the site.

What makes this site different from other maritime sites?

This is the first site to feature the story of maritime communities across the Mid Atlantic region stretching from Long Island, New York to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The site allows you to hear the voices of people who live and work in these communities, and learn how they have weathered profound changes in these areas over the years. History, culture, and ecology combine in the site to give you an expansive view of the Mid Atlantic coast through the eyes of residents who have lived there for many years.

What will I find on the site?

The "Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities" site uses information gathered for and during the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program of the same name. It contains written text explanations, slide shows and other photos, audio and video clips of Festival participants, and links to the web sites of related Mid-Atlantic maritime resources. You find wonderful samples of maritime culture from across the Mid-Atlantic, but don't expect an exhaustive amount of information about endangered fish species, details of how to pick a blue crab, or travel information about all of the communities of the Outer Banks. The main objective of the site is to give an overview of the region, to hear the voices of the people who live there, and learn about the skills of those who live and work on the Mid-Atlantic waters. There are plenty of good sites out there specifically designed for those more interested in science, food, travel and other topics, some of which are linked to our site.

The site is so large - how can I find my way around it?

Familiarize yourself with the site and its many parts by clicking on the site map in the "Resources" section. This will give you an overview of the site.

How can I find a particular community on the coast I am interested in visiting?

The "Ports of Call" case studies are arranged geographically. Visit them by clicking on the interactive map on the first page of this section. Each case study has a text description of the place, a photo slide show and audio and/or video clips of people who live there. It also links you to the web sites of maritime museums and other organizations.

How did you choose the sections, like "Boat Yard" and "Keeping the Water Safe?

These theme sections follow the various areas presented at the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which covered many aspects of life on the water. You can "meet" fishermen, boat builders and a host of other people; learn a recipe; watch a slide show of a mast being raised; hear a song about blue crabs; find out where to sail on a tall ship; or check the latest coastal weather forecast. Browse around each section and try some of the links!

What is Kids' Coast and why does it feature Oysters, Shad and Atlantic White Cedar?

At the Festival, the Kids' Coast tent featured hands on activities from environmental education organizations which complemented the other featured areas. In order to focus on three resources that cut across the whole Mid Atlantic Region, there were on going displays and activities related to oysters, shad and Atlantic White Cedar. These important resources tell a story of the history, culture, and ecology of the region. For more information, "read all about it" in the Kids' Coast Fun and Games section or in the Water Ways program book article on the site.

How can teachers use the site?

Teachers can use the main part of the site as a background resource when studying the culture, history and ecology of coastal communities, or the state history of the Mid-Atlantic states. Teacher Resources, located in the Kids' Coast section of the site, offers sample lesson plans. The "Fun and Games" section of Kids' Coast has interactive scavenger hunts, games, and printable activities. The "Build Your Own Maritime Story" section has instructions for writing prompts using photographs, and sample stories using photos and text.

Why don't you offer a separate section of links to other maritime sites?

We placed links within the body of the text in places where they would naturally be sought. For instance, a link to the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art is located in the "Marsh Life" section under "Decoys." A link to Tuckerton Seaport is placed in the Tuckerton "Port of Call." We hope you use these links to find out more information than we can provide in the on line exhibition about specific topics and places.

How can I get more information about the Water Ways project?

Contact the curator of the on-line exhibition at and she will be happy to answer any other questions.

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