Franklin County Public Library Hosts Traveling Moonshine Exhibition

ROCKY MOUNT, VA (April 13, 2021). The Franklin County Public Library (FCPL) is pleased to host the traveling exhibition, “Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled.” The FCPL is hosting this free exhibition in recognition of the Centennial of Prohibition and Franklin County Moonshine Heritage Month. Curated by the Library of Virginia, the exhibition is now on display at the FCPL’s Rocky Mount location and then will move to the library’s Westlake location.

“Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled” is on display on the first floor of the Rocky Mount location of the Franklin County Public Library, April 1-22: Tuesday & Wednesday, 9A-5P; Thursday, 10A-6P. 355 Franklin St., Rocky Mount, VA 24151. In addition, paintings and other works by local artists in honor of Franklin County Moonshine Heritage Month are on display on the second floor.

Virginians imbibed their last legal drink on Halloween Eve in 1916–more than three years before national Prohibition was enacted due to passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Newspapers reported bacchanalian scenes in the Old Dominion’s cities as “wets” drank up and bought out the stock of saloons and bars. Most of the state’s liquor, beer, and wine producers shut down. Many farmers worried that a major part of their livelihood from corn and fruit had disappeared overnight, while supporters of Prohibition exulted in the promise of a morally upright “Dry Virginia.” For the next 18 years Virginia became a laboratory for “The Noble Experiment” that ultimately failed when the 18th Amendment was repealed.

The exhibit addresses the important and long-lasting effects of Prohibition on Virginia and America, including:

* The Prohibition movement as part of a social reform movement

* The economic and social costs of Prohibition, including the closing of businesses and conflict within communities, and the rise of illegal alcohol production and sale

* The role of government in overseeing public health

* Prohibition’s legacy–from NASCAR to the creation of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to the rise of the modern brewing and distilling industry

Using free-standing banner displays of text and images, “Teetotalers & Moonshiners” highlights items from the Library of Virginia’s historical collection, including sheet music mocking Prohibition, headlines in anti- and pro-liquor newspapers and broadsides, and records of the state’s Prohibition Commission. A digital kiosk plays two videos that include footage of still busts with audio of letters sent to the Prohibition Commission between 1916 and 1933 and music recorded during Prohibition.

“Teetotalers & Moonshiners” will be on display at the Westlake location of the Franklin County Public Library, April 28-May 13: Tuesday, 9A-5P; Wednesday, 9A-3P; Thursday, 10A-6P. 84 Westlake Rd., Hardy, VA 24101.

“Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled” is a traveling exhibition from the Library of Virginia presented with support from Virginia ABC and the Virginia Distillers Association.