The Greater Southwest Historical Museum is inviting the public to take a visit to yesteryear, when gangsters and flappers reigned supreme. The time when alcohol was taboo but everyone was looking to have a good time. It is the time known as prohibition.
The museum has begun a month of exploring and celebrating the period known as prohibition in the State of Oklahoma. Like most of the nation, the outlawing of the production, possession and sale of alcoholic beverages has been a part of the state's history.
"Many people think of prohibition as being something that run through the 1920s and ended in the early 1930s," said Michael Anderson, museum director. "However, in Oklahoma, the prohibition of liquor was written into the state constitution and lasted, in at least some form, all the way until 1959."
The national prohibition began in 1920 and was repealed in 1933.
The museum will kick off its observance of prohibition Thursday with a program by Kirk Roden, a member of the Murray State College History Department and a familiar face to the museum.
"This will make the third time we have had him as a speaker," Anderson said. "He always draws well. He is going to speak about the prohibition era in Oklahoma."
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with beverages and snacks and the program will start at 7 p.m. It is free to the public.
On April 26, the museum will host a fundraiser, "Speakeasy, A Prohibition Soiree." The fundraiser will serve as the opening reception to an exhibit of the prohibition years in Oklahoma. The event will start at 7 p.m. and last until 10 p.m. Those wanting to take a ride in a 1930 Model A Ford are encouraged to arrive a little bit earlier.
"It is a fundraiser but we also wanted to elevate interest in the exhibit and the museum," Anderson said.
Tickets are available at the museum and cost $20. Nicki Wood, museum curator, said the museum had collected a number of artifacts for the event that includes flapper dresses, hats, political buttons and a 1933 Anheuser Busch crate. There are a number of photographs and prints from the period in the exhibit. Wood also painted a mural that depicts images from the time period.
"This is the first time we have had an artist on staff and it's nice to have her put her artistic ability into the exhibit," Anderson said. "The artifacts are pretty much selected and it should be a good mixture of items."
Anderson said there has also been input from the public for the event.
"We have had a lot of people express interest in it and I think it goes back to people's experience in the era," Anderson said.
In addition of the exhibit, there will be entertainment throughout the evening. The dance group Two Left Feet will be on hand and will be available to teach the Charleston. The Ardmore High School Jazz Band will be at the event as well as other musicians. There will also be raffles.
To top off the experience of the prohibition era, attendees are encouraged to dress up in era-related outfits. Following the soiree, the event will be on display for three to four months.
For more information about prohibition related activities at the museum, call (580) 226-2857 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.