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South Street Seaport Museum


Healing Waters: Utopian Responses to Dirt, Disease & Disorder, 1890-1940

exhibit designer

Linda Weinraub

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In this collaboration with the New York City Municipal Archives, we examined the ways in which city reformers utilized the city's water supply and waterways to ease social problems brought on by mass immigration and rapid industrialization — dirty streets, fire, the spread of disease, inadequate sanitation, and overcrowding. Through the application of technology and social engineering, reformers molded today's modern city with its universal indoor plumbing, improved sanitation, and expanded recreational facilities. The exhibit was part of a citywide Utopia initiative organized by the New York Public Library, and was made possible with support from the NYC Department of Records & Information Services, The Lucius Littauer Foundation, and the Emigrant Savings Bank. The tank was built for the exhibition and donated by the Rosenwach Tank Company.