MPW membranes key cogs in stunning Smithsonian exhibit

This fountain is in The National Museum of African American History and Culture located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

On November 22, a vendor in charge of maintaining a fountain at a Smithsonian museum ordered four reverse osmosis (RO) membranes from Products Direct, which is MPW’s e-commerce website for industrial and commercial water products and services.

Anna Carr

Products Direct Specialist Anna Carr said the membranes are likely replacement parts for a system that prevents scaling in a specially designed fountain in The National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

“After I received the order, I researched the delivery site,” Carr said. “It’s interesting that it was for such a unique exhibit in a place I wanted to visit.”

In part of an area of the museum called the Contemplative Court, the cylindrical fountain showers into a shallow pool in the center of the room, which is illuminated by a skylight. With bronze-colored glass walls, the room contains a core of luminous mesh, with a subdued internal radiance. The falling water creates a sound that has been described as “calming, relaxing and a space for deep thoughts and meditation.”

Carr said the membranes, which are each 4 inches in diameter, would be critical components in the museum’s RO system, removing dissolved solids, such as minerals and salts, from a municipal water source. She said this would improve the aesthetics and performance of the fountain.

“These types of membranes are fairly common and are among Products Direct’s top-selling items,” Carr said. “More common applications for these parts would be the spot-free rinse at a car wash, or a much larger RO system at a power plant.”

Launched at the end of 2016, Products Direct specializes in direct-to-consumer cartridge filters, media, ion exchange resins and replacement parts for a wide range of water systems. The site has grown to include more than 73,000 users worldwide.

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