The Library of Virginia’s Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled panel exhibit is traveling up from Richmond to be on exhibit at Reston Museum between March 21 and April 29. Reston Museum has paired this exhibit with artifacts from their own collection of Bowman Distillery artifacts.
Virginians imbibed their last legal drink on Halloween night in 1916—more than three years before national prohibition was enacted. Newspapers reported bacchanalian scenes in the Old Dominion’s cities as “wets” drank up and bought out the stock of saloons and bars. Most of the state’s liquor, beer, and wine producers quietly shut down. Many farmers worried that a major part of their livelihood from corn and fruit had disappeared overnight, while supporters of prohibition exulted in the promise of a morally upright “Dry Virginia.” For the next 18 years the state became a laboratory for a grand social experiment that ultimately left many Virginians with a serious hangover—and eventually led to repeal.
Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled, a traveling exhibition from the Library of Virginia, tells the story of Virginia Prohibition and its legacy through an exciting exhibition and associated programming. The exhibition addresses the important and long-lasting effects of Prohibition on commonwealth and America, including:
- The prohibition movement as part of a social reform movement
- The economic and social costs of Prohibition, including the closing of businesses and conflict within communities, and the rise of illegal alcohol production and sale as an underground culture and economy
- The role of government in overseeing public health
- Prohibition’s legacy—from NASCAR to the creation of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to the rise of the modern brewing and distilling industry
Distilled from the Library’s 1,200 square foot exhibition (on view through December 5, 2017), Teetotalers & Moonshiners uses the Library’s deep and compelling collections on this era, from humorous sheet music mocking the absurdities of Prohibition to blazing headlines in anti- and pro-liquor newspapers and broadsides. At the core of the story are the records of the state’s Prohibition Commission, which record the daily activities of its agents. A digital interactive component documents statewide prohibition trends and tells the personal stories of commission agents, bootleggers, and moonshiners. The exhibition is supported in part by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association. The Virginia Distillers Association provided support for the traveling exhibition.
Teetotalers & Moonshiners addresses the important and long-lasting effects ofProhibition on Virginia and America, including the prohibition movement as part of a social reform movement, the economic and social costs of Prohibition, including the closing of businesses and conflict within communities, and the rise of illegal alcohol production and sale as an underground culture and economy, the role of government in overseeing public health, and prohibition’s legacy—from NASCAR to the creation of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to the rise of the modern brewing and distilling industry.
The Library of Virginia is one of the oldest agencies of Virginia government, founded in 1823 to preserve and provide access to the state’s incomparable printed and manuscript holdings. The Library’s collection, which has grown steadily through the years, is the most comprehensive resource in the world for the study of Virginia history, culture, and government.
Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled is a traveling exhibition from the Library of Virginia presented with support from Virginia ABC and the Virginia Distillers Association.
About Reston Museum
Reston Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Reston’s past, informing the present, and influencing the future of Reston. Reston Museum preserves a collection of archival material and artifacts related to the history of Reston, many of which are exhibited at the Reston Museum. Located at Lake Anne Plaza, Reston Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday free of charge. Reston Museum also conducts educational and public programming, exhibitions, and public events including the Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta, the Reston Home Tour, and Founder’s Day. For more information, please visit www.restonmuseum.org