Tuesday, March 11, 2014

American Spirits: The Rise And Fall Of Prohibition

This will be a short one, but I wanted to get it out there while the exhibit is still running!  This past Sunday Sj and I met with Bill and Jackie S. for lunch at Great Waters Brewing Company and then took advantage of the warming weather and walked to the Minnesota History Center to check out their special exhibit called American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. 

I've been to the History Center a few times for Winterfest before, but always after dark and when the exhibits are closed down for the night.  Wandering in during the day I was struck by how large place is.  High ceilings, wide corridors and very tasteful decorations abound!  Bill and I were intrigued by the wood-framed airplane hanging from the ceiling in one area of the building and I took a bunch of pictures of it to test out my new camera. 

Bill, like John Adams starts the day with a glass of hard cider...

We had half price tickets, so had a cheap entry to the exhibits.  The prohibition exhibit itself was fun, especially for a couple of beer geeks!  The place was hopping and somewhat slow moving due to a lot of wordage on the exhibits, but I never felt truly crowded or pushed to speed up.  Several of the displays were interactive like the test for telling if you are a Wet or a Dry, and trying to decide what would be legal or illegal under the Volstead Act.  Short movies played in other areas that you could bypass or watch depending on inclination.  Perhaps my favorite part of the exhibit was looking at all of the anti-drinking posters from the prohibitionists.  Looking back most of these just seem ridiculous, but at the time they were disturbing and well-believed.  This is all proof that PR and spin rules our American politics and has for more than a century!

Thanks goodness this isn't true!

After the exhibition, we decided to make the most of our entry fee to visit some of the other areas.  One hall was about the Greatest Generation and included a lot of items from the WW2 era and then the baby boom era after the war was over.  There were interactive areas like one for kids to pack gun ammunition like Rosy the Riveter.  A full sized soda fountain was being properly run by a group of young kids when we passed through--they were "taking orders" and cleaning counter tops like pros!

Another area on past and present Minnesota industry was aimed at mostly young folk, but was still fun for the four of us overgrown children.  I have to say that the full sized buffalo that could be dissected for its useful parts was pretty freaking awesome, even at my advanced age! 

Sj takes down the wild buffalo.  Bill and Jackie help with the vivisection...

American Spirits is open for one more week, ending on March 16th, so if you have been hemming and hawing, you best move quickly!  And if you haven't been to the rest of the center, I highly recommend it.  Kids will dig much of this!

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