American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition at the National Constitution Center

On January 17, 1920, the United States introduced the 18th Amendment, which outlawed citizens from manufacturing, selling, or transporting intoxicating beverages. But not everyone adhered to this new order…

Get ready to step back in time to an era where flappers, suffragists, bootleggers, and temperance workers were the norm. This was a time where legends like Al Capone and Carrie Nation lived. Created by and located at the National Constitution Center, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition exhibition debuted March 3 and will be available until July 16 before moving on to Austin, Texas.

This Philadelphia attraction is the first of its kind to vividly bring the entire story of Prohibition to life, spanning from the temperance movement through the Roaring ‘20s to the repeal of the constitutional amendment. Visitors will explore the years between 1920 and 1933 and learn why America went “dry” in the first place – along with the ramifications the nation endured.

Experience this unique era through:

  • More than 100 rare artifacts, including flapper dresses, temperance propaganda, a 1929 Buick Marquette, and original ratification copies of the 18th and 21st Amendments
  • A speakeasy brought to life where visitors can learn the Charleston while exploring 1920s fashion and music
  • Music, films, and photo exhibits, as well as Wayne Wheeler’s Amazing Amendment Machine, which is a 20-foot-long, carnival-inspired contraption that traces how the temperance movement culminated in the 18th Amendment
  • A realistic video game where players can act as a federal agent to track town rumrunners
  • A unique iPod audio-visual tour guided by the exhibition’s curator, Daniel Okrent, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and author, as well as the filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, who created the PBS documentary Prohibition

Learn more about the exhibition here! While you’re in the area, check out another great Philadelphia attraction – make sure to stop by Geno’s Steaks for an original Philly cheesesteak when you’re ready to grab a bite. We’re open 24/7!