Although the 18th Amendment outlawed alcohol, the years of Prohibition — the Roaring Twenties and a few years following that decade — were a wild time in both U.S. and Texas history, and a new exhibit that has come to the Bullock Texas State History Museum will showcase just how raucous they were.
Among the things visitors exploring the “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” show will get to do is learn to dance the Charleston in a re-created speakeasy, “take on the persona of a federal agency tracing down rum-runners in a custom video game experience” and trace how the temperance movement led to the nationwide ban of alcohol, according to the Bullock Museum.
Plus, there will be “more than 100 original artifacts, such as a 1927 Ford Model T coupe, original ratification copies of the 18th and 21st Amendments, and items related to notorious Americans like Al Capone, Eliot Ness and Carrie Nation,” according to the museum.
The 18th Amendment meant that Americans, including Texans, could no longer have anything to do with alcohol — couldn’t make, sell, transport or drink booze — but that certainly didn’t stop them from doing all of it. Because Texas was so close to Mexico, people could cross the border and legally drink. Alcohol was also smuggled in. And most Texas breweries shut down or switched to making nonalcoholic beverages.
Those are just some of the facts you’ll learn with “American Spirits,” created by the National Constitution Center. It’ll be on view through Jan. 7.
The Bullock Museum is located at 1800 Congress Ave. and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5-$9. For more information, visit thestoryoftexas.com.