The Indiana State Museum's engaging, interactive exhibition on Prohibition — American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition — invites conversation on a number of topics, both while you're there and after you get home.
What propelled the American Temperance movement? Did anything of value result from Prohibition? How does alcohol consumption affect each of us on a personal level? Whose responsibility is it to ensure responsible consumption?
Migrating from farm to city challenged most people who found it hard to adjust to the harsh realities of urban poverty. They drank to cope with and escape from what they considered dehumanization as factory workers. While the situation warranted concern, moralists attacked and admonished the workers but did little to mitigate the circumstances created by industrialists paying low wages and demanding long hours.
Perhaps the most poignant take-away is Al Capone’s comment: “When I sell liquor, it’s boot legging. When my patrons serve it on a silver tray on Lake Shore Drive, it’s hospitality.”