The Minnesota Historical recently awarded a $69,000 grant to the Granite Falls Historical Society for the purposes of preparing “exhibits and events to mark the centennial of the 1919 National Prohibition Act and the 1922 Capper-Volstead Act.”
The GFHS matched $5,000 in additional funds.
Andrew Volstead worked as an attorney in Granite Falls and served in Congress during the early part of the 20th century. He is most noted for introducing legislation that enforced the recently passed constitutional prohibition on the sale and consumption of alcohol, however, he also supported a slew of other progressive causes including cooperatives, labor reform, and voting rights.
Volstead’s former house is now a registered historical landmark and is under the management of the GFHS. It is anticipated that the house will serve as the focal point of future prohibition centennial planning.
To help the GFHS develop exhibits and plan events, Bluestem Heritage Group was selected to serve as museum consultant. The grant will also pay for part-time staffing, though no hiring decisions have yet been made.
In addition to focusing on Volstead’s legislative accomplishments, new exhibits will also explore his family life, including the lives of his wife, Nellie, and daughter, Laura. By doing so, the GFHS hopes to give a fuller picture of one of Minnesota’s most well-known legislators, and a key figure in the progressive movement.
Recently, the GFHS developed an interpretive plan that identified key themes, conceptual visions, and organizational needs for future exhibits and events. The plan was created in partnership with Museology, a Minnesota-based historical consulting form. Moving forward, the plan will serve as the basis for future research and exhibit planning.
The GHFS is already working with the City of Granite Falls and the Granite Falls Art Council, and hopes to build greater organizational capacity through new partnerships.
Eventually, the GFHS hopes to use the centennial celebrations as an opportunity to cement a new narrative of Andrew Volstead that highlights the many fascinating and historically relevant facets of his l