Prohibition Exhibit Returns To Constitution Center

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Prohibition is back.

The National Constitution Center welcomes the wildly successful “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” exhibit back to the Philadelphia museum for a limited engagement.

Step inside, and you will be transported back to the roaring 20s.

Bootleggers, bottles, and brawn.The 20s saw the dawn of the “temperance movement.”

“How is it possible that a nation of drinkers voted to make itself dry?” said Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center.

What began as a request for people to voluntarily give up alcohol in the early 1900s quickly turned into a ban, introducing a time of innovation for those looking to make a buck illegally.

“You can watch real videos from the era, you can do games. There’s a video game where you get to drive a boat and catch rum runners,” said Sarah Winski, Manager of Exhibition and Development.

The exhibit doesn’t just teach about the wild ways bootleggers evaded the authorities, it shows you.

“It’s the artifacts and the images that stick in the mind. Olmstead’s phone, or the ballot for the state convention electors, or the 20s dresses, or the speakeasies,” said Rosen.

The 5,000 square foot exhibit, originally opened to the public in 2012, is back featuring more than 100 rare artifacts.

“Whiskey six” cars designed to carry illegal cargo discreetly, a telephone used Roy Olmsted used to operate his bootlegging empire, and yes, flapper dresses, cocktail couture, and even dance moves from the 1920s.

“It gave me a challenge with my coordination. It was pretty difficult,” said Ariel Arusy from the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy.

The critically acclaimed exhibit was created by the National Constitution Center to take visitors back in time, leading them from the beginning of prohibition, through the repeal of a constitutional amendment.

“American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” exhibit runs through Sunday, July 16th.

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