Saturday, October 20, 2012

"American Spirits" at the National Constitution Center

Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

Prohibition is fascinating. 

From the birth of secret speakeasies to rise of gangsters against the backdrop of flappers and jazz, it's an era that we tend to romanticize. 

"Yet that movement altered the Constitution in a radical fashion, extending its reach to matters once considered personal and restricting freedoms rather than expanding them. In effect from 1920 to 1933, Prohibition drastically altered the legal system of every state, and overturned ordinary citizens’ behaviors and expectations. While claiming high virtue and utopian prospects, it inspired spectacular violations and grotesque criminal violence.
We tend to think of Prohibition now as some kind of crazed moral paroxysm, reflecting the worst in the American character. Or it inspires facile parallels with contemporary political movements while producing some fine folk tales about Eliot Ness, Al Capone, pious preachers, flappers, bootleggers, the Charleston and the speakeasy.
And those elements are all on display at the new exhibition at the National Constitution Center here, “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” But the show also asks, “How did we get here?” And with its 120 artifacts, gallery stage sets, videos, games and diversions, it doesn’t just round up the usual suspects."  For more information, read more in this NYTimes article

WHEN AND WHERE Friday through April 28. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. The show then travels to other cities.
INFORMATION (215) 409-6600,
WHERE TO DRINK Tip a few at one of these Philadelphia speakeasies: the Farmers’ Cabinet, 1113 Walnut Street, (215) 923-1113,; Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company, 112 South 18th Street, (267) 467-3277,; Hop Sing Laundromat, 1029 Race Street (which has a dress code: no flip-flops, no sandals, no sneakers, no shorts and no hats),


Stay tuned for information about an upcoming Women Who Whiskey field trip! 

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