Prohibition made it illegal to brew beer or distill liquor, so America’s unquenched thirst for alcohol demanded an underworld solution. The Mob filled the void, smuggling spirits into the country and producing moonshine from hidden stills.
This exhibit tells the stories of bootleggers, rum runners and the government agents who tried to take them down. The centerpiece is a working still producing moonshine so you, too, can have a taste of this formerly forbidden engine of American commerce.
9 a.m. – midnight
Police arrest a suspected bootlegger whose car crashed during a chase. Visit The Mob Museum Prohibition microsite to learn more. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
Prohibition agents destroy a bar during Prohibition. Courtesy of National Archives.
Unlike our Carrie Nation temperance movement hatchet on display on the third floor, this hatchet is representative of the anti-Prohibition cause.
Moonshine, gin, rum and vodka – part of The Mob Museum’s new line of spirits.
During Prohibition the only way to legally obtain alcohol was through a doctor’s prescription. Alcohol was used as a “treatment” for a variety of ailments, including headaches, nausea and even diabetes.
Rather than shut down, many breweries, distilleries and vineyards manufactured alternative products during the 13 years of Prohibition.
Coast Guard members with rifles along the deck facing a small rum-running boat in 1924. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
Stills such as this five-gallon version were used to make alcohol on a smaller scale during Prohibition. This part of the still is where the fermented mash was heated up over a fire.
This elixir advertised that it “Gives relief from pain.” Although it has alcohol in it, it skirted Prohibition by claiming to be for external application only.
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