209 W. St. Julian Street, Savannah GA 31401
Located next to Ellis Square in the City Market we are just blocks away from Robinson Parking Garage
Not Your Typical Dry MuseumBringing the roaring twenties to life with over 20 intoxicating exhibits & authentic speakeasy
Good Behavior Rarely Makes HistoryFrom gangsters to rumrunners, learn about the most infamous troublemakers of the 1920s and 30s
Savannah's Best Kept SecretCentrally located next to Ellis Square, in the popular City Market
Whiskey BusinessLearn to make your own hooch while exploring an extensive collection of moonshine stills
Considering the consumption of alcohol a threat to the nation, several organizations rallied together and fought for a legal ban on spirits.
YOU BOOZE, YOU LOSE
Visit our Temperance Movement exhibit and peruse through the posters, pamphlets, and propaganda that influenced the American people to vote the country dry. Learn about the prohibitionist leaders that led the fight and the consequences associated with drinking during this turbulent time in history.
The Temperance Movement
The American Temperance Society reached it’s HIGHEST MEMBERSHIP NUMBERS THIS YEAR with over 238,000 individuals supporting the cause
Founded by Reverend Howard Russell in 1893, the ASL was the leading ORGANIZATION LOBBYING FOR PROHIBITION
The 18th amendment was passed in 1919, IMMEDIATELY PROHIBITING the sale, transportation, and consumption of alcohol
As a radical member of the temperance movement, Carry Nation embarked on a decade-long era of saloon smashing with the aid of her famous hatchet
ONE BAD TEMPER-ANCE
Visit our Carry Nation exhibit and explore the history behind her hatred towards liquor. Take a selfie with her full-size lifelike figure, and be sure to watch out for her hatchet.
Carry strikes her first saloon this year USING BRICKS & ROCKS before picking up her legendary hatchet
The number of times she was ARRESTED FOR ACTS OF VANDALISM or “hatchetations” as they were called
At almost 6ft, Carry was a TOWERING WOMAN WHO REFUSED to wear corsets & tight fitting clothing
Looking for a big payday, criminals took their smuggling efforts out to sea, engaging in the illegal business of transporting and selling alcohol.
Visit our Rum Runner exhibit and discover why Savannah was often referred to as the “Bootleg Spigot of the South.” Learn about Rum Row and the journey many embarked on to get their goods ashore.
Southern Rum Runners
Capt. Bill McCoy was well-respected in the smuggling business, KNOWN FOR SELLING PREMIUM LIQUOR AND TOP BRANDS, although ironically, he was never a drinker
Rum-running was worth the risk for some AS IT’S SAID THAT SEVERAL SHIPS carried over $200,000 in contraband in a single run
Once on land, smugglers often hauled THEIR CARGO TO THE SPEAKEASIES where they could drink to their success
As soon as prohibition went into effect, early bootleggers began to produce their own illicit alcohol, also known as moonshine.
Learn to make your own “white lightning” at our Moonshine exhibit while exploring the largest collection of stills. Enjoy a lesson on alcohol proof levels and witness the byproducts of America’s entrepreneurial “spirit.”
The three “X”s on a moonshine jug signified that its contents HAD BEEN RUN THROUGH A STILL AT LEAST 3x, resulting in almost 100% pure alcohol
More than 10,000 people died from DRINKING LOW-QUALITY MOONSHINE before the repeal of the 18th Amendment
The proof level of moonshine varies depending on the still, BUT WHITE LIGHTNING IS TYPICALLY BETWEEN 150 – 170 PROOF making it at least 75% alcohol by volume
Following the end of World War I, women started to raise their skirts and bob their hair, getting all dolled up to listen to jazz, breaking all conventional standards of what it meant to be a lady.
GLITZ, GLAMOR, & GALOSHES
See some authentic flapper flair at our Flapper Craze exhibit, and discover why the trend was all the rage in the twenties. Learn to dance the Charleston and immerse yourself in the flapper culture, known for its intoxicating energy.
This generation of women were some of the 1st to DRIVE CARS, GET JOBS OUTSIDE THEIR HOMES, and socialize with men in public settings
Silent film star Clara Bow was ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS FLAPPERS, often referred to as the “It” girl
A favorite among flappers who loved to dance, THE ICONIC CHARLESTON SWEPT THE NATION during prohibition, peaking in popularity in 1926
Prohibition led to the rise of organized crime, as gangsters began to form well-organized and profitable bootlegging operations.
BLACK MARKET BOOZE
From destroyed stills to tommy guns, you’ll find all sorts of criminal evidence at our Crime & Gangsters exhibit. View confiscated items from the mobsters of the twenties and learn about the bad behavior that landed many of them in the slammer.
Crime & Gangsters
Al Capone and his crime network brought in $100 million a year
THROUGH ILLEGAL OPERATIONS WHILE THE AVERAGE
industrial worker earned less than $1,000/yr
In large cities, the homicide rate per 100,000 PEOPLE INCREASED BY 78% compared to the pre-Prohibition era
It’s believed that Scarface himself ORDERED THE ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE, where 7 of his rivals were brutally slaughtered in Chicago
Considered the most influential car of the 20th century, the Ford Model T was a powerful symbol of America’s modern era.
LEAVING THE PAST IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR
Visit our Model T exhibit and see the 1921 touring car yourself. Discover how the “Tin Lizzie” became an instant pop culture icon and how it helped shape the way Americans lived and traveled.
The creator of the REVOLUTIONARY automobile
Due to Ford’s efficient assembly line process, 15 MILLION MODEL T’S WERE BUILT & were the first cars affordable to the masses
The Model T was incorporated into MANY 1920’S MOVIES & SONGS, becoming a part of modern language and culture
Also known as Blind Pigs, speakeasies were secretive establishments where alcohol was illegally served to the masses.
A ROARING GOOD TIME
Alcohol was outlawed, drinking was kept on the hush-hush, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Visit our authentic 1920s speakeasy and enjoy craft cocktails served with a side of history.
To enter these hidden saloons, guests were asked to WHISPER A CODE WORD THROUGH A SMALL OPENING IN A DOOR, a practice that helped avoid detection by the authorities
Dependent on lesser-known musicians for entertainment, THESE UNDERGROUND SALOONS WERE responsible for ushering in the age of jazz music
Mixology can be attributed to prohibition-era drinking, AS BARTENDERS WERE FORCED TO GET CREATIVE WITH their cocktails in order to mask the taste of poor-quality liquor
On December 5, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the ratification of the 21st Amendment, bringing the prohibition era to an end.
THE 18TH AMENDMENT DROWNS
Visit our Happy Days celebration saloon and raise a glass to the end of prohibition! View photographs of national repeal festivities and rejoice in the fact that drinking is finally legal again.
The Great Repeal
Pauline Sabin founded the Women’s Organization FOR NATIONAL PROHIBITION REFORM, a movement supported by over 1.5 million members
Prior to the repeal, FDR signed the CULLER-HARRISON ACT OF 1933 WHICH ALLOWED for the sale of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2%
The passage of the 21st Amendment left PROHIBITION LEGISLATION UP TO THE STATES, and while a few chose to leave prohibition in place, most did not
209 W. St. Julian Street, Savannah GA 31401
The American Prohibition Museum is accessible to guests with disabilities