Flappers, Bootleggers and Local Legends in New Exhibit About Prohibition

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 5, 2013
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Julianna Olsen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3039, julianna.olsen@mnhs.org

Flappers, Bootleggers and Local Legends in New Exhibit About Prohibition

‘American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition’ opens at the Minnesota History Center Nov. 9

On Jan. 17, 1920, Americans could no longer manufacture, sell or transport alcohol. The 18th Amendment, Prohibition, was now part of the Constitution, holding the same status as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the abolition of slavery. Explore this complex and colorful time in America’s history with the new exhibit “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition,” on view at the Minnesota History Center, Nov. 9, 2013 – March 16, 2014.

HatchetCreated by the National Constitution Center, “American Spirits” 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 Carry Nation. (At right: Hatchet wielded by Carry Nation, 1901.)

Minnesota’s own Prohibition story is just as colorful. Andrew Volstead, U.S. Representative from Granite Falls, Minn., authored the Volstead Act, which effectively defined how Prohibition would be enforced and therefore what loopholes existed. F. Scott Fitzgerald and his young wife, Zelda, lived and partied in St. Paul. Fitzgerald coined the term the “Jazz Age” to describe the lifestyle of 1920s youth. And St. Paul became a hiding spot for many well-known mobsters.

The 5,000-square-foot exhibit features more than 100 rare artifacts and many interactive elements and immersive environments.

Preview Party, Nov. 8, 8 to 11 p.m.
Guests eager to get a first look at the exhibit can attend the preview party on Nov. 8, from 8 to 11 p.m. The Minnesota History Center will turn into a one-night-only “speakeasy” where guests can pose for a gangster mugshot, dance to live Dixieland jazz with the Southside Aces, learn the Charleston and Shimmy, compete for prizes in amateur dance-offs, sample local beers by Summit and Lucid Brewing, sip moonshine cocktails designed just for the evening, and create a souvenir keepsake.

“American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” is organized and circulated by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. It is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

The Minnesota showing of “American Spirits” is funded in part by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.

Hours and location
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

Admission to “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” is included with regular History Center admission of $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, $6 for children ages 6 to 17; free for children age 5 and under and MHS members.

The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a modern library, distinctive gift shops and an award-winning restaurant.

The Minnesota Historical Societyis a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.