Museums seek public contributions for Prohibition exhibit

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The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) is asking the public for help as they seek artifacts to help tell the unique story of Prohibition in Mississippi for a new special exhibition—Mississippi Distilled: Prohibition, Piety, and Politics.

The exhibit will open in March 2020 at the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

As staff at the Two Mississippi Museums work to build the immersive exhibit, the department is particularly interested in collecting items connected to Prohibition enforcement, such as a uniform or badge from a law enforcement officer involved in a raid.

“We need the public’s help to find objects and photographs that will enhance the exhibit,” said Nan Prince, director of collections for MDAH. “We are interested in hearing about anything related to alcohol consumption and production in Mississippi.”

While Prohibition lasted in Mississippi from 1907 until 1966, ‘Mississippi Distilled’ will engage with content far beyond this period. The exhibit will include stories from prehistory and European colonialism to women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, and more.

“The women’s suffrage movement played a huge role in temperance and prohibition. We would love to talk to anyone with artifacts related to the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union or other temperance activists,” Prince said. “We are also interested in photographs or depictions of Mississippi taverns, saloons, and bars from all time periods.”

If there is a related artifact that someone is not ready to donate, the department will discuss temporarily borrowing it for the exhibit.

Through the wide reach of the Two Mississippi Museums, people across the state and the globe will experience Mississippi Distilled. Donations of artifacts, documents, and information will help bring the story to life.

To contribute, call 601-576-6930 or email collections@mdah.ms.gov.

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