“[With] its 120 artifacts, gallery stage sets, videos, games and diversions, it doesn’t just round up the usual suspects…The exhibition touches on important themes in its narrative, but there is almost nothing dry about it, except that in the mock speakeasy at its center, the bottles are empty and nothing is served.”
—The New York Times
American Spirits “offers a more nuanced examination of this strange interlude, from 1920 to 1933, during which law breaking was invested with a rare glamor.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“The Constitution Center hasn’t skimped on the energy and antics with this latest high-profile exhibition… There’s a sobering, provocative, and indeed timely tale here etched with caution and drenched in regret.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
For exhibit availability and more information, please contact Stephanie Reyer, Vice President of Exhibitions, at 215-409-6687 or SReyer@constitutioncenter.org
Created by the National Constitution Center, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is the first comprehensive exhibit about America’s most colorful and complex constitutional hiccup. Bring this critically acclaimed exhibit to your venue!
Visitors will step back in time to an era of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance workers, and real-life legends like Al Capone and Carrie Nation. American Spirits brings the Prohibition era vividly to life through:
- Over 100 rare artifacts including flapper dresses, temperance propaganda, a 1929 Buick Marquette, and original ratification copies of the 18th and 21st Amendments
- A re-created speakeasy where visitors can learn to Charleston and explore the fashion, music, and culture of the Roaring ’20s
- Films, music, photos, and multimedia exhibits including the dazzling Wayne Wheeler’s Amazing Amendment Machine, a 20-foot-long, carnival-inspired contraption that traces how the temperance movement culminated in the 18th Amendment
- A custom-built video game where you serve as a federal agent tracking down rumrunners
- An engaging audio-visual iPod tour featuring curator Daniel Okrent along with filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, who created the PBS documentary Prohibition (Please note: May not be available at every venue)
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition was curated by Daniel Okrent, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Size: 5000 square feet
Environmental Requirements: Gallery temperature consistently maintained
Security: Medium to high
Presentation Period: 16 weeks