The Rise and Fall of Prohibition in America

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Meet the drys, wets, gangsters, flappers, lawmen and suffragists of America’s most colorful, complex constitutional hiccup at American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, a new exhibition at the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s open through April 28, 2013 — and then goes on tour*.

Spanning from the dawn of the temperance movement, through the Roaring ’20s, to the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment, it includes flapper dresses, temperance propaganda, a 1929 Buick Marquette, and original ratification copies of the 18th and 21st Amendments.

At a re-created speakeasy you can learn to “Charleston” and explore the fashion, music, and culture of the Roaring ’20s. Films, music, photos and multimedia exhibits including Wayne Wheeler’s Amazing Amendment Machine — a 20-foot-long, carnival-inspired contraption that traces how the temperance movement culminated in the 18th Amendment.

There’s even a custom-built video game where you serve as a federal agent tracking down rum runners.

“American Spirits” is curated by Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.

*Tour Schedule:
-Minnesota History Center Museum St. Paul, Minnesota: November 8, 2013 – March 16, 2014
-Missouri History Museum St. Louis, Missouri: May 2, 2014 – September 1, 2014
-The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum Austin, Texas: October 25, 2014 – February 15, 2015
-Museum of History & Industry Seattle, Washington: April 10, 2015 – August 2, 2015
-Grand Rapids Public Museum Grand Rapids, Michigan: September 25, 2015 – January 17, 2016

(Photo of “Mr. Dry” Bar Set, ca. 1920s courtesy of National Constitution Center)