An Inside Look at Prohibition

An exhibit at the Philadelphia National Constitution Center gives a peek into the era of speakeasies and bathtub gin


Dec. 5 marks the 79th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition — and that's something we can all toast to. This year, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia gives visitors a deeper look into the underground movement of flappers, suffragists, gangsters (hello, Al Capone), and more importantly: the speakeasies and bootleggers. 

The "American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition" exhibit, which is open until April, has more than 100 artifacts from the era, from the Temperance movement beginning in the 1800s right through the Roaring Twenties. "Prohibition left an indelible mark on America, redefining the role of the federal government and leaving its mark on everything from our personal habits to our tax policies,” said exhibition curator Daniel Okrent in a release. "And though it may have been a wild card in our constitutional history, it came into being through the invention and deployment of political tactics and strategies still in play today."

What you can see at the exhibit:

• Original ratification copies of the 18th and 21st Amendments

• Original home manufacturing items used for making moonshine, homebrewed beer, and other illegal and highly potent liquor

• One of the first beer crates of Budweiser produced after the "Beer Act" in 1933, which changed the legal limit for "intoxicating" beverages to 3.2 percent ABV

• A recreated speakeasy complete with a bar, dance floor, and band stand (you can even learn the Charleston!)

Visit constitutioncenter.org to get more information on the exhibit. 


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