2015 Press Releases

National Archives Marks Opening of Alcohol History Exhibit with Special Programs in March
Press Release · Thursday, February 12, 2015

Washington, DC

“Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History” Opens March 6, 2015

More Information

In March, the National Archives presents several special programs inspired by its new exhibition, “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History,” which opens March 6, 2015, in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. These programs are free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street.

“Spirited Republic” invites visitors to look at the government’s tolerance, oversight, and control of alcohol throughout our history. The exhibit will be on display through January 10, 2016. The National Archives Museum is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving and December 25.

“Spirited Republic” is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family, The Tasting Panel Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. Additional exhibition funding provided by the Beer Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

BOOK TALK: Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking
Friday, March 6, at noon
Note: This program will be streamed live on the National Archives YouTube channel.
Author Mark Will-Weber helps us launch our new exhibit, “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History,” with an account of how alcohol figured in memorable moments of our country’s history. A book signing follows the program.

PANEL DISCUSSION: American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites
Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m.
Libby O’Connell, chief historian and a senior vice president for the History Channel and A&E networks, discusses American culinary history, including a colorful exploration of numerous drinks and cocktails. Joining O’Connell will be Corby Kummer, senior editor of The Atlantic, and Jim Hewes, chief mixologist and cocktail historian at the Willard Hotel. A book signing follows the program.

FILM SCREENING: The Public Enemy
Saturday, March 14, at 2 p.m.
Based on a never-published novel titled “Beer and Blood,” The Public Enemy (1931; 83 minutes) stars James Cagney (in a star-making performance) as Tom Powers, a young man who becomes involved in the criminal underworld in Prohibition-era America. The film also stars Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, and Joan Blondell, and is directed by William A. Wellman.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Temperance and Woman Suffrage: Reform Movements and the Women Who Changed America
Tuesday, March 31, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
The temperance and woman suffrage movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries created opportunities for women to organize for social, economic, and political change. Support for the temperance movement through the largest women’s organization, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, opened the door for women to work not only for temperance but for issues including improved working conditions for wage-earning women, improved public education, and political equality. Page Harrington, executive director of the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum, leads a discussion on these reform movements and the women behind them. Also participating in the discussion will be Lori Osborne, archivist and president of the Frances Willard Historical Association, which manages the Frances Willard House & Museum in Evanston, IL. Presented in partnership with the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Public Program Reservation Instructions: Reservations for McGowan Theater programs are not required but are recommended. Use the new online event registration system from the National Archives Foundation to reserve your seats:

1. Register at www.archivesfoundation.org/events/
2. Print your email confirmation and bring it with you.
3. To reserve by phone, call 202-357-6814. Walk-ins without reservations will be admitted, depending on available seats.

Enter through the Special Events Entrance on Constitution Avenue. The doors to the building will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program.

About “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History” Exhibit

Since the first European settlers, Americans have enjoyed a drink. At times, many of us have enjoyed a lot of drinks. But other Americans, fearing the harm alcohol would do to society and to individuals, have tried to stop our drinking or limit who, when, and where we could consume alcohol.

These two, different views of alcoholic beverages run throughout American history. Sometimes they have existed in relative peace; other times they have been at war. “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History” uses nearly 100 National Archives documents and artifacts to reveal the evolution of the government’s alcohol policy over time, and to illustrate the wide variety of views about alcohol held by Americans. The stories they tell echo today’s debates over regulating drinking and the legalization of other drugs.

Learn about Federal Government’s efforts, successes, and failures to change our drinking habits, from whiskey rations to the Continental Army to the Whiskey Rebellion to Prohibition and beyond.

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For more information about ”Spirited Republic“ or to obtain images of items included in the exhibition, call the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

Follow the exhibit on social media channels using hashtag #SpiritedRepublic

Connect with the National Archives on:
Twitter: @USNatArchives
Facebook: USNationalArchives
Tumblr: http://usnatarchives.tumblr.com
Using hashtag #SpiritedRepublic


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