For a period in which the sale of alcohol was taboo, the decade following World War 1 gained quite a reputation in that it is referred to as the "Roaring 20's."
The decade of the mobster, speakeasies and flappers have been memorialized on the silver screen. But there is also another aspect of the decade. The often-untold story of how the regular folks went about their business during the dustbowl with the Great Depression inching ever so slowly into their lives.
In April, the Greater Southwest Historical Museum will bring the decade to life with an exhibit that will include focus on local and statewide impact.
"We will have a broader focus that will include the state of Oklahoma, but we will also have the regional aspect," Michael Anderson, museum director, said. "This is a time period that is very interesting and maybe some people don't know too much about it. This is a good opportunity for people to come and immerse themselves in this time period."
The inspiration for the new exhibit came from Ken Burns' documentary on Prohibition. Anderson began wondering about the time period at the local level and wanted to develop those thoughts into something that could explore the area's experience.
"It got me wondering what was going on with people's lives, what they were wearing and want to get into some of that with the exhibit."
The museum has been looking through its collection of photos for the exhibit and has also looked at the Oklahoma Historical Society's selection of photos online. The museum is also hopeful it will receive participation from local residents. Any opportunity to copy a photo or hear individual stories from the time period that would add to the exhibit would be valued.
"We really want the public to add to the exhibit," Anderson said. "It doesn't have to be prohibition. It could be someone with a story from the 1920's. Maybe they had a relative that went to school or lived here during that time."
Nicki Wood, museum curator, will also paint a scene based on a photo of prohibition enforcement. The photo is of 1,000 barrels of alcohol being dumped near the state capital on 3rd and Robinson.
The exhibit will be the first one since June 2012. The room where the exhibits have been showcased has been empty since November and plans are in place to have it ready for the public in April.
The opening of the exhibit will also be celebrated with a fundraiser for the museum. A party will take place April 26, which will also feature the time period "Roaring 20's."
The event will feature different foods donated as well as a speakeasy. And it will also provide an opportunity for guests to put their personal stamp on the party. The party was Wood's idea.
"If people have 1920's era appropriate clothes, they can wear that," Anderson said. "When Nicki proposed the party, we thought we could put the two together. The idea for the fundraiser was to get a lot more community involvement. For the next two months, this is going to be our focus."
"We expect it to be open before the fundraiser and we will use the party as the exhibit's grand opening," Wood said.
Michael Pineda