American Spirits

The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

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Step back in time to an era of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance workers, and real-life legends like Al Capone and Carry Nation.

Created by the National Constitution Center, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is the first comprehensive exhibition about America’s most colorful and complex constitutional hiccup.

On January 17, 1920, a new day dawned. As the 18th Amendment went into effect, Americans could no longer manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages. Prohibition was now part of the Constitution, holding the same status as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the abolition of slavery. 

What did those who wanted American "dry" hope to achieve? And how did the "wets" fight back?  American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition explores those tumultuous years of 1920 to 1933, and why the country went dry in the first place. Prohibition's advocates said that they wanted to improve the nation's moral and physical health, and in some ways they succeeded. But the nation also endured a radical rise in crime, corruption, and cynicism.  By the time it ended with the ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933, America had become a very different county.

What you'll see and do:


American Spirits brings the Prohibition era vividly to life through:

  • Over 100 rare artifacts including flapper dresses, temperance propaganda, a 1927 Ford Model T coupe, 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
  • A mugshot interactive where you can send via email a photo of you in a lineup with the likes of Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, and Lucky Luciano
  • 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

American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition presented by
Anheuser-Busch, Ben E. Keith Company, and Bud Light/Silver Eagle Distributors.

Sponsored by the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Hall Fund.

Additional support by Mr. and Mrs. Kevin J. Lilly.

American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is created by the National Constitution Center - Philadelphia, PA, and is made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
National Constitution Center National Endowment for the Humanities

Support for the Bullock Museum's exhibitions and education programs provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.