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Group Description

On the Water: Snapshots in Time

Whether you live in the desert, on the beach or somewhere in between, what happens On the Water affects your daily life. We want to know how.

On May 22, 2009, the National Museum of American History launched a new exhibition On the Water: Stories from Maritime America that explores the significant and ongoing role of maritime activity in American history. Visit the online version of the exhibition to learn more.

This Flickr group is dedicated to collecting the images and descriptions of maritime activities across the United States of America. Maritime activity includes shipping and port-related work, ship and boat building, fishing and fish processing, recreational cruising, and many other water-related enterprises, all of which have far-reaching impacts. The foods you eat, the products you buy, how you travel, and even the words you speak are all affected by maritime commerce, past and present.

1) Take a photo that represents a maritime activity that affects you or your community (see IDEAS below)
2) Upload the photo to Flickr
3) Add a written description of the activities, people, location and effects
4) Map your photo using Flickr maps
5) Add the photo to the On the Water Flickr Group

*Teachers, you can use this Educator's Guide to implement this activity in the classroom.

You can explore the map with everyone’s contributions here within the On the Water Flickr group or by visiting the "Snapshots in Time" section of the On the Water Web site. You must use the Flickr map function to geotag your image if you want it to display on the Museum's On the Water Web site.


Where do the foods you eat and the products you buy come from? How many of them came to you by ship? As you look around one room in your home, can you identify those things that have spent time at sea?

Do you or someone you know have a job involving maritime activity? Fishing, working on or piloting a ship, working on the docks, building ships and boats, processing seafood, and engaging in marine scientific research are all examples of On the Water jobs. What are some of the special skills needed for working on the water?

Do you enjoy recreational boating or fishing, sunbathing on the beach, snorkeling, diving, or exploring the water? Have you taken a cruise, tour boat ride, or rafted down rapids? What were the most memorable parts of those experiences?

Do you travel by ferry or other watercraft on a regular basis? Did you or someone you know immigrate to this country via ship or migrate from one region to another by boat?

Have maritime places you know, such as seashores, coastal communities, river towns, and bays changed within your or your family members’ memories? How so and why? Are the changes largely positive or negative?

Group Rules

All photos submitted to this group will be considered for use in the National Museum of American History’s On the Water "Snapshots in Time" Project.


SNAP IT - Take a photo that shows the activity
MAP IT - Note the location where you took the photo
DESCRIBE IT - Note what is going on, what you see, who you talk to

Upload the image to Flickr and send to the OTWsnapshots group.

NOTE: If you want your image to display in the Museum's nationwide map of images, you MUST use the Flickr map function to geotag the image. Only images that include location (aka geotag) can be included in the Smithsonian’s On the Water "Snapshots in Time" web site.

Any picture submitted to the pool may be featured on the National Museum of American History Web site or on the Museum’s Facebook page. In the event that your photograph is chosen to be displayed in the “Snapshots in Time” feature on the Museum’s On the Water Web site, it will be displayed along with your Flickr screen name, title, location, and description of the image. Please note that this group is moderated and the Museum has the right to remove any image that is inappropriate to the spirit of the On the Water "Snapshots in Time" Project.

Museum Photography Policy
Photography is prohibited in the Star-Spangled Banner Gallery and the Albert H. Small Documents Gallery. Video cameras and flash photography are permitted in all other areas unless noted by signage. Tripods are not permitted inside the Museum building unless permission is granted by the Museum's Public Affairs Office.

Prohibited Content and/or Activity:
Smithsonian reserves the right to take appropriate action against anyone who violates these rules, including without limitation, removing the offending content from the group, or taking other action deemed appropriate in the Smithsonian’s sole discretion. Prohibited activities include posting content or engaging in conduct that:

-is obscene, patently offensive, abusive, threatening, harmful, harassing, defamatory or libelous;
-contains nudity, violence or offensive subject matter;
-contains content related to alcohol, firearms or tobacco;
-involves the transmission of spam or junk mail;
-exploits people in a sexual or violent manner;
-violates the copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights or privacy rights of any person;
-furthers or promotes any criminal activity or provides instructional information about illegal activities;
-provides or creates computer viruses;
-involves advertising, solicitation or sales activities;
-is determined by the Smithsonian, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate or unacceptable.

The Smithsonian reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend image and/or comment posting for any reason, including corruption or interference with this group by any virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its control that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper postings. Smithsonian is not responsible for telecommunications, network, electronic, technical, or computer failures of any kind, incomplete or inaccurate transcription of photo information and/or comment posting, any human or electronic error, or for images that are incomplete, stolen, misdirected, jumbled, garbled, or delayed by computer transmissions. In the event of technical difficulties, Smithsonian reserves the right to take any appropriate action. Smithsonian and its officers, directors, employees, and agents assume no responsibility for any injury or damages of any kind to participants or to any person’s computer relating to or resulting from posting, entering, uploading or downloading materials or any other use in connection with this group. Smithsonian will use reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of all information, but makes no warranties, whether express or implied, regarding this group. These rules are subject to change at any time without notice at the sole discretion of the Smithsonian. Changes will be posted on this group. If you become aware of misuse of this group by any person, please contact the group Administrator

For more information on Smithsonian copyrights, privacy, and rules concerning photography in other Smithsonian museums, please visit

Additional Info

  • This group will count toward the photo's limit (60 for Pro members, 30 for free members)
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Images, Art, Screenshots
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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