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Prohibition exhibit opens at BCHS Museum

George Glotzbach examines a vintage Schell’s Cereal Extract bottle that’s part of the “Wet Stills and Dry Agents: Brown County and the Prohibition Years” exhibit at Brown County Historical Society. The exhibit opened Saturday.

NEW ULM — Brown County Historical Society unveiled its new Prohibition-themed exhibit Saturday almost just in time for the 100 year anniversary of Prohibition.

The exhibit, titled “Wet Stills and Dry Agents: Brown County and the Prohibition Years,” highlights Brown County’s experiences during Prohibition.

Notable items within the exhibit collection are vintage liquor and beer bottles from area breweries, original brewery advertisement posters and a deactivated model 1928 Thompson submachine gun.

The Thompson, considered a weapon of choice of Prohibition-era gangsters, has an accompanying drum magazine and a violin case meant to disguise it.

Resting in a glass case beside the Thompson is a Colt .38 Revolver – a standard issue service pistol often used by law enforcement during the period.

Gene Slettedahl examines a deactivated Model 1928 Thompson submachinegun and its accompanying violin case meant to disguise it. The Thompson is a part of the Brown County Historical Society’s new exhibit “Wet Stills and Dry Agents: Brown County and the Prohibition” that opened Saturday.

Including the featured historic items, the exhibit also discusses the attitudes of people in Brown County toward Prohibition, the effects it had on Brown County’s three operating breweries, and the ways in which people ignored or bypassed the 18th Amendment.

In addition, the exhibit includes information on the Temperance Movement – the social movement that advocated against alcohol — and key societal and political factors that steered the United States toward prohibition. Through individual sections within the exhibit, visitors may learn the effects Prohibition had on a country that made, brewed, and distilled hundreds of millions of gallons of wine, beer and liquor.

The exhibit opening was hosted by Schell’s Border Batch and features items displayed from the collections of members of Schell’s Border Batch.

“Wet Stills and Dry Agents: Brown County and the Prohibition Years” is on display until May 2020 on the second floor of the BCHS’s museum.

BCHS will also host events to accompany the exhibit such as a presentation by Denny Warta titled “Reminiscing About the Prohibition Era” 7 p.m. Thursday, June 27.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton The rear-end of two 1935 Ford Deluxe cars are pictured in the Brown County Historical Society’s parking lot Saturday during the museum’s exhibit opening of “Wet Stills and Dry Agents: Brown County and the Prohibition Years.” The exhibit opening featured a collection of Prohibition era vehicles.

gcureton@nujournal.com.

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