In 2017, the Ontario Museum of History & Art began developing a new permanent exhibition, which was inspired by efforts underway to redesign the Museum’s landscaping with native plants and water-saving features.  Curatorial staff realized there was a bigger story to tell about water and its importance in Ontario.   In 2018, the Museum was awarded a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Services for this new exhibit.   

Built on Water: Ontario and Inland Southern California focuses on the history, present and future of water in the Ontario region and the Chino Basin. Built on Water brings together the story of local water agencies, regional tribes, agriculture, water conservation, and the establishment of the City of Ontario.  Developed collaboratively with local archivists, water agencies, teachers, tribal members, college students and historians, the 1,200 square-foot exhibition also has educational programming and interactive components which allow for learning and discovery for all ages. 

Learn from artifacts and images of early water infrastructure, explore the future of water management in a new mobile app, listen to the voices of our community’s water guardians, and follow the life of a Monarch butterfly through a one-of-a-kind VR experience. 


As Seen On

View photos from our community preview event of Built on Water at Culture Fest 2023.

Ontario Museum of History & Art | 225 S. Euclid Ave., Ontario, CA 91762 

Thursday – Friday, 12 PM – 4 PM, Saturday – Sunday, 11 AM – 5 PM 

(909) 395-2510 |  

Follow us on Instagram @ontariomuseum_artsculture 

Built on Water is made possible by the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and by the City of Ontario and the Ontario Municipal Utilities Company. 

Water Keepers Mobile Application

Water Keepers is an educational tool that complements our latest permanent exhibit, Built on Water: Ontario and Inland Southern CaliforniaThis mobile application invites users to delve into the past, present, and future of water management, blending history, science, and art in a gamified adventure.

Through choose-your-own adventure storytelling and thought-provoking puzzle challenges, Water Keepers transports players across time, immersing them in the challenges faced by three unique characters and their water-related dilemmas. The application introduces you to three water professionals: a citrus farmer, a water quality manager, and a water resource engineer. The app not only educates but also empowers users to make informed decisions regarding water conservation. Aligned with Common Core/Next Gen Science standards, Water Keepers is a valuable resource for educators, students, parents with their children, and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of responsible water usage. This free mobile application is now available for download on both the Google Play Store and Apple Store.