American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

American Spirits was open September 26, 2015 through January 17, 2016.

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 America “dry” hope to achieve? And how did the “wets” fight back? American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, a world exhibition created by the National Constitution Center, explored 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 country.

See fashion from the Roaring 20’s in the GRPM’s Collections here. 

Support for American Spirits is provided by:

Presenting Sponsors














Long Road Distillers_Logo







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Alliance Beverage Distributing Company
New Holland Brewing 



Brewery Vivant


Media Sponsors














American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition was created by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. 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.