By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 10, 2019 at 11:01 AM

Milwaukee County Historical Society, which has a pretty impressive beeriana collection and also runs Brew City MKE, a Milwaukee beer museum and tavern at the former Shops of Grand Avenue, launches a new exhibition next week.

"How Dry I Am: Prohibition Milwaukee" opens Wednesday, Jan. 16 at the society’s Marquette Park Historical Center, 910 N. Old World 3rd St., offering an interactive exploration of what Prohibition meant in a city that beer made famous.

The show – which runs through May 4 – opens on the 100th anniversary that the 18th Amendment was passed by the number of states (36) required to pass a constitutional amendment. The law went into effect one year and one day later.

"The Society chooses a topic each year to explore that has broad interest to the public and with the 100th anniversary of Prohibition, it is the perfect time to look back," said MCHS Executive Director Mame McCully, in a statement.

The new exhibit explores the push for the amendment and what followed its passing. Included are objects, photographs and interactives from the MCHS collection, as well as from partners like The Pabst Mansion and from private collectors, too.

"This exhibit offers visitors a really interesting look at that this unique and pivotal period in history through a Milwaukee lens, said Curator Ben Barbera.

"It is exciting to show the full story of Prohibition, as well as allow people to compare the challenges and opportunities of the 1920s with those that we see today."

The exhibit will explore a baker’s dozen years of Prohibition through artifacts, images, and interactive components. Items rarely seen, those from partner organizations such as The Pabst Mansion, and artifacts from private collections will be featured.

There will be a recreated speakeasy with a secure entrance and a virtual bartender, a digital dance instructor teaching visitors how to do the Charleston and other historic "scenes" that guests can enter

As always, a range of programming  including a Jan. 23 talk by John Gurda – accompanies the exhibition.

The show opens two days before the official launch event of Milwaukee Museum Week – in which MCHS is a participant – which runs Jan. 21-27. Details of that debut event can be found here

For more information on "How Dry I Am: Prohibition Milwaukee," visit

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.