Museums + Galleries

The Romance of Fun and All Things Illegal

Minnesota History Center pays homage to St. Paul as a bootlegger’s paradise with American Spirits.

Three Polaroids of prohibition. Pouring out beer, beer case, badge.

Above Images: Prohibition Administrator Badge, 1931, Courtesy of the Honorable Newton C. Taylor, executor of the estate of Blanche D. Pennington; Anheuser-Busch Beer Case, 1933, Courtesy of the Anheuser-Busch Archives; Pouring Liquor courtesy of Library of Congress/minnesota History center.


When the federal government, in its limited wisdom, decided to deprive the people of demon alcohol, it ushered in a colorful era of gangsters, flappers, speakeasies, and legal hijinks. Prohibition was a colossal policy blunder, but it generated one of the most romantically interesting periods in American history.

St. Paul itself was a bootlegger’s paradise, so it makes perfect sense that the Minnesota History Center would host American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Created by the National Constitution Center, the exhibit captures the spirit and insanity of the era with a re-created speakeasy, film, music, photos, and more than 100 artifacts. Nov. 9–March 16. Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, 651-259-3000, minnesotahistorycenter.org

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