"A Watershed Moment: Celebrating the Homecoming of The New York City Water Supply Model" Exhibition

Queens Museum of Art

poster for "A Watershed Moment: Celebrating the Homecoming of The New York City Water Supply Model" Exhibition
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Permanent event

In 1937, New York City was in preparation for the 1939's World's Fair, the first of two in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. To celebrate the immense and intricate inner-workings of the City, various agencies were invited to produce exhibitions for the New York City Pavilion (now the Queens Museum of Art). The Board of Water Supply (today's Department of Environmental Protection) commissioned the Cartographic Survey Force of the Works Progress Administration to create a magnificent scale model of the New York City watershed, a relief map measuring almost 700 square feet and weighing 10,000 pounds. Tracing the City's water supply system from the outermost, upstream tributaries of the Delaware River to sea level at the Nassau County line, the watershed model identified the various aqueducts, water shafts and drainage basins that feed the City's water supply.

qmaDue to space limitations within the New York City Pavilion, the model was never exhibited in its entirety. After nearly 70 years in storage, the 27 completed panels were in desperate need of conservation. Through a collaboration between The Queens Museum of Art and the Department of Environmental Protection, the plaster and wood relief map was sent to McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Lab in Oberlin, Ohio for one year of treatment. In time for its 70th anniversary, the model has been restored to its original brilliance and returns to its intended home in the New York City Building where it will remain on long-term loan. In celebration, the QMA and DEP will commemorate this momentous homecoming with an exhibition featuring the model, historic documentation, and contemporary photographs of the New York City watershed.



Permanent event

long term exhibition


http://www.queensmuseum.org (venue's website)


Suggested donations: Adults $5, Seniors and Children $2.50, Members and Children under 5 Free

Venue Hours

From 12:00 To 18:00
saturdays opening at 12:00, sundays opening at 12:00
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Holidays
Note:Closed Monday & Tuesday With the exception of Learning Programs & Workshops. Also closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.


Address: Queens Museum of Art, Meridian Rd., Flushing, NY 11368
Phone: 718-592-9700

Ten-minute walk through the park to the Unisphere, where the museum is located. Follow the yellow signs. Subway: 7 to Willets Point/Shea Stadium

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