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History Museum Hosts Spirited Exhibit About Prohibition

Roaring 20s Speakeasy Reception Feb. 6

The Lake Wales History Museum opened the major traveling exhibit, Spirited: Prohibition in America on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Organized by the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA, in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO, Spirited: Prohibition in America explores the era of Prohibition, when America went "dry."

Visitors will learn about the complex issues that led America to adopt Prohibition through the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 1919 until its repeal through the 21st Amendment in 1933. Through the exhibition, visitors will learn about the amendment process, the changing role of liquor in American culture, Prohibition's impact on the roaring '20s, the role of women, and how current liquor laws vary from state to state.

"We are so excited to have this world-class exhibit at the museum sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities," states Jennifer D'hollander, director of the museum. "This is a must-see exhibit about a time in our history that was one-of-a-kind. It's a milestone year - 2020, and what better way to welcome the new decade than celebrating our history that happened 100 years ago."

During the era of Prohibition, Americans could no longer manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages from 1920 until 1933. Spirited: Prohibition in America, opening on January 28, 2020 at the Lake Wales History Museum explores this tumultuous time in American history, when flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and legends, such as Al Capone and Carry Nation, took sides in this battle against the bottle

The exhibition draws on the histories told from both sides of this divisive issue that riled passions and created volatile situations. In the end, after a decade of wide-spread corruption, wavering public opinion, and the need to generate revenue from an alcohol tax, the 18th Amendment became the first ever repealed. With the passing of the 21st Amendment, Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933 to a very different America. Today, Prohibition's legacy can be traced through state laws regulating alcohol, created to avoid the excesses before Prohibition and the corruption and lawlessness experienced during the roaring '20s.

Join us at the museum at 325 S. Scenic Hwy. in Lake Wales for this amazing exhibit, and exciting activities planned in conjunction with the exhibit:

Exhibit Opening Reception, Welcome to the Speakeasy

6 p.m. Feb. 6

Wear your favorite jazz and 1920s attire to the museum's exhibit opening reception of Spirited: Prohibition in America. Enjoy a live jazz band, signature drinks, good eats, photo station, and prizes for the best attire. Free to the public. Please RSVP by calling the museum at 863-676-1759.

Featured History Talk Speaker, Dr. Diana Reigelsperger

"Tavern Life in Colonial Florida"

6 p.m. Feb. 20

Come listen to Dr. Diana Reigelsperger speak about Tavern Life in Colonial Florida - a time when American consumption of alcohol was at an all-time high, and early Temperance movement organizations arose. Dr. Reigelsperger is an associate professor of history at Seminole State College in Sanford, Florida. Her research focuses on trade in colonial Spanish Florida, particularly smuggling and contraband. Her most recent publication is "Networks of Diplomacy and Trade in the Contested Florida Borderlands," in The Latin Americanist in 2017. She completed her doctorate in history at the University of Florida in 2013. Her master's degree in history, focused on taverns as sites of rebellion in Spanish Florida, which became the inspiration for this presentation. Light refreshments included. Free to the public. Please RSVP by calling the museum at 863-676-1759.

About the Exhibit

Spirited: Prohibition in America is based on the exhibition American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, organized by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA, in collaboration with Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Spirited has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has been adapted and toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance. Founded in 1972, Mid-America Arts Alliance is the oldest regional nonprofit arts organization in the United States. For more information, visit or

About the Lake Wales History Museum

The Lake Wales History Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is free and the first floor is accessible for persons with disabilities, wheelchairs and strollers. For more information, contact the Lake Wales History Museum, 325 S Scenic Highway, Lake Wales, Florida 33853; 863-676-1759 or visit


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