For 13 years, from 1920 to 1933, Americans had to go through contortions to get a drink.
Ushered in by a constitutional amendment (the 18th) and given the heave-ho in the same way (the 21st), Prohibition marked a time like no other in American history.
The National Constitution Center on Independence Mall chronicled the surprising history of this surprising constitutional subject in a quirky, fascinating exhibition in 2012 before launching the show on a national tour.
Now, "American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition," is back, opening Friday for a run through July 16.
Jeffrey Rosen, president and chief executive of the center, notes that Prohibition really accounted for the Roaring Twenties, but it wasn't all gangsters and G-men. Rosen's "two heroes," President William Howard Taft, later chief justice of the Supreme Court; and Louis D. Brandeis, associate justice, played key roles in important court cases growing from Prohibition and involving multiple constitutional issues that resonate to this moment.
What is unique about "American Spirits," however, is that it explores those issues, but does not ignore flappers and speakeasies and fashion.
Curated by the center's vice president of exhibitions and design, Stephanie Reyer, "American Spirits" brings a little juice to the Constitution.
"We are thrilled to have this superb exhibit back from its national tour," said Rosen.