OLLI: “Temperance and Prohibition in the Champlain Valley”

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Susan Evans McClure will present the next OLLI program, “Our Best Endeavors: Temperance and Prohibition in the Champlain Valley,” Tuesday, March 10 at 2 p.m. at the Nolin Murray Center on Pleasant Street in Springfield, Vt.

Susan Evans McClure
Susan Evans McClure. Photo by Briget Ganske

When you think about “Prohibition,” most people imagine gangsters and bootleggers with tommy guns and fancy cars in the 1920s. But to truly understand federal prohibition in the Champlain Valley, you have to start earlier than the ratification of the 18th Amendment in 1919. Vermont actually had statewide prohibition from 1853-1904. Join us to examine how the Champlain Valley went from being a major producer and consumer of alcohol in the early 1800s to a hotbed of temperance sentiment by the mid-19th century.

What caused the members of the Westport Sons of Temperance to proclaim in 1853 that they would “use our best endeavors to procure and sustain a stringent prohibitory law?” And what can this all help us understand about the tension between regulation and personal freedom that plays out in our society today?

Susan Evans McClure is the executive director of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. She leads the talented team of educators, curators, museum professionals, and archaeologists as they explore the relationship between the land, the people, and the water of the Champlain Valley. Previously, Susan was director of programs and audience development at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where she launched the Smithsonian’s first brewing history research and collecting initiative. Susan holds an Ed.M. in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Theater from McGill University.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, affiliated with the University of Vermont, is a local membership program geared towards seniors 50 years and older who want to engage in meaningful learning “just for the fun of it!” Membership for the semester includes nine programs. Non-members are encouraged and welcome to attend individual lectures for a single program fee.

The next OLLI program March 10 will be “North Chester: It’s More Than Just the Stone Village” presented by architectural historian and Chester resident, Hugh Henry. The complete Springfield and statewide program list is available at www.learn.uvm.edu/olli. For weather-related changes to the schedule, check the above mentioned website or SAPA TV, 802-885-6248 or call 802-885-3094.

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