On Jan. 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment put into place a nationwide ban prohibiting Americans from manufacturing, selling or transporting alcohol which remained in place from 1920 to 1933. This time period is commonly known as Prohibition.
It’s something we all learned about in history class, but most likely, rarely think about today. As a fan of history, I sat down to write this blog thinking that I had a pretty good knowledge of Prohibition and the time period of the1920s and 30s. But I soon realized that there is so much more that I have to learn!
That is why I am excited to be touring the new exhibit in the Indiana State Museum, “American Spirits, The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” this Saturday!
Not only do I get to learn more about our country’s history, I also am looking forward to learning more about the “spirits” we all enjoy from time to time. If you’ve come across any of my Indiana Vino Adventure blogs, you may have learned that I really enjoy a good glass of wine. (In fact, I mayyyy or may not be having a glass as I write this) 🙂
As I was researching Prohibition, I quickly found out that some wine was actually still allowed for religious reasons. Whew – I would have survived! 🙂
Inside the Exhibit
The “American Spirits” exhibit, on view at the Indiana State Museum Sept. 20, 2014 through Feb. 15, 2015 was created by the National Constitution Center. It spans the dawn of the temperance movement in the early 1800s, through the Roaring ’20s, to the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment during the Great Depression. It includes stories of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists and real-life legends like Al Capone and Carrie Nation.
The 5,000-square-foot exhibition, curated by Daniel Okrent, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, features more than 100 rare artifacts; recreated environments (from a church where visitors can hear [and deliver] temperance speeches to a speakeasy where they can learn the Charleston and the slang of the time to a law-enforcement office where visitors can explore efforts to stop bootlegging) and several multimedia experiences.
In addition, the exhibition includes interactives such as Wayne Wheeler’s Amazing Amendment Machine, (pictured left) which is a carnival-inspired installation that traces the complex political and legal maneuvering behind the passage of the 18th Amendment.
So cool, right?
Not only does the exhibit share nationwide facts, It also features our very own state, Indiana! Indiana’s stories of the temperance movement, Prohibition and the cultural ferment of the 1920s, are just as colorful helping to shape the national attitude toward Prohibition. Stories like Billy Sunday’s, who moved his family to Indiana in 1911, evolving from a popular professional baseball player to an evangelical Christian. (His strong support of Prohibition played a significant role in the adoption of the 18th Amendment.) Other Hoosier stories include legends May Wright Sewall, a leader in Indiana’s woman suffrage movement, who dedicated her life to peace and Grace Julian Clarke, an influential writer for the Indianapolis Star, to name a few.
Check out a sneak peek of the exhibit below:
Details and Admissions
The exhibit opens to Members on Friday Sept 19th and to the general public on Sept. 20th. Tickets are now on sale for Indiana State Museum members and general admission guests. Tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, $8.50 for children ages 12 and under. Member admission is included in membership. For more information about the exhibit, special events, online ticket sales and more, visit indianamuseum.org.
I’d love for you to join me!
Agriculture and American Spirits
As a member of the agriculture industry, I also thought this would be a neat opportunity to share some ag facts about “American Spirits”! You may be asking yourself, what role does agriculture play in all this? You probably don’t think about it, but farmers are the biggest source of ingredients for alcoholic drinks! You may have known about corn from Luke Bryan’s song, “Rain is a Good Thing” where he references, “Rain makes corn, corn makes whisky” but…
DID YOU KNOW that crops such as barley, sorghum, rice, hops, apples, wheat, grapes, sugarcane, and even potatoes are also used to make different kinds of alcohol?
This means that when Prohibition was put into place, the demand for crops declined, putting even more economic pressures on farmers.
As I tour the “American Spirits” exhibit this weekend, I am also going to focus on highlighting how agriculture is involved in the various aspects of the exhibit as well as the beverage industry in general. I’ll be live tweeting from the event too so if you’d like to get a sneak peek of what’s inside, be sure to follow me at @Chelsea_PA on Twitter!
And to share all of the fun things I learned while at the exhibit, I’ll post a recap blog as well as provide more insight into all things “Agriculture and American Spirits” – so be sure to check back next week!
Museum Social Media Information:
Trip Advisor: www.tripadvisor.com
Hashtag for the exhibit: #ISMSpiritsCredits: Indiana State Museum Press Release. American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition(italicize) was created by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Local Sponsors – Supported by: 21st Amendment; Contributors: Barnes and Thornburg LLP, Republic National Distributing Company and American Harvest Vodka.