Interpreting the Prohibition Era at Museums and Historic Sites chronicles the rise and fall of one of the greatest attempted reforms in American History. Why were Americans so worried about alcohol? Why did they seek to ban an entire industry? How did those involved in the trade react? How did repeal come about? How should we remember the “noble crusade”? Such questions are important, both for historians and museums who seek to interpret the Prohibition Era, as well as for the general public who wants to know more about the Roaring Twenties and how it continues to shape the United States today.
Case studies cover:
· Saloons, both before and after Prohibition
· Gamblers and gumshoes
This guide will help museum and history professionals make sense of a complex story, relate the history and legacy of political pressure groups, and help learners think about the era in new ways.
Topics included cover:
· The history of prohibition from early American drinking, drinking as a big business, to the birth of the temperance and prohibition movement.
· Interpreting prohibition history including background on the repeal of prohibition and interpreting it’s legacy, and capturing the local and national story.
Jason S. Lantzer is an historian who looks at the intersection of religion, politics, and law in American culture. His first book, Prohibition is Here to Stay was published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 2009, and his second book, Mainline Christianity was published by New York University Press in 2012. He is the honors program coordinator at Butler University, where he teaches broadly on US History.
Interpreting the Prohibition Era at Museums and Historic Sites is exactly the kind of book that busy interpreters, curators, and museum administrators need. Well-researched and lucidly written, it combines a brief history of prohibition with incisive guidelines for interpretation. Lantzer offers an informative account of the long war between “wets” and “drys” in slightly less than fifty pages. His guidelines demonstrate the enduring relevance of prohibition while offering suggestions for telling meaningful, engaging stories about it. Interpreting the Prohibition Era at Museums and Historic Sites is sure to become a standard resource for public historians and museum professionals. In fact, by reminding us that prohibition left no part of the nation untouched, the book shows why its story deserves to be told—and how sites large and small can incorporate it into their programming.
— Daniel Vivian, Assistant Professor of History and Director of Public History Program, University of Louisville
Interpreting the Prohibition Era at Museums and Historic Sites is a must-read for any museum professional seeking to uncover the Prohibition era in a museum gallery or program setting. Tapping into public interest by celebrating objects and stories from the local perspective is a wonderful opportunity for museums, but this book will help program developers understand the context in which their story sits. Taking the local story and asking the variety of contextual questions posed in this book will help museums explore the widest possible angle of history and spark countless new interests on the part of visitors.
— Eloise Batic, Director of Exhibitions Research and Development, Indiana Historical Society
978-0-7591-2431-8 • Hardback
978-0-7591-2432-5 • Paperback
978-0-7591-2433-2 • eBook