Windsor

Museum looking for items to tell 'Windsor's Prohibition History'

This region's rich history in the booze business will be explored an upcoming exhibition, and the Museum Windsor is calling on the community to help tell the story.

Mayor, museum call on community to donate or lend memorabilia for 2024 exhibitions

Two men are seated at a table covered with whisky bottles and memorabilia.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, seen with Chimczuk Museum exhibitions coordinator Craig Capacchione, holds a 1912 Canadian Club bottle from his collection of memorabilia. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

This region's rich history in the booze business will be explored an upcoming exhibition, and the Museum Windsor is calling on the community to help tell the story.

The museum is looking for donations of memorabilia — photos, artifacts, clothing, accessories and other items — related to the Prohibition era and rum running, Canadian Club Whisky and the company's founder Hiram Walker and more.

Mayor Drew Dilkens made a plea to the public on Monday at the Hiram Walker boardroom at city hall, which features his own collection of memorabilia that he is lending to the museum.

"I'm asking everyone to go through your basements, to go through your closets, to go through your boxes of things that have been in the garage or up in the rafters for some time, and whether they're old bottles like this that you're probably never going to open ... think of the city of Windsor and think of our museum and how we can use your artifacts to help tell our story," Dilkens said.

The temporary exhibition is planned for the summer of 2024. It will be called Windsor's Prohibition History.

The items would be maintained as part of the museum's collection so those who donate can have certainty the items will be preserved for generations.

Exhibitions co-ordinator Craig Capacchione said the museum will accept items on loan as well. 

"The important thing is to look soon and to reach out right away. That's how we pull together an exhibit like this."

The city of Windsor is unveiling a bronze statue of Hiram Walker in Walkerville on Saturday and holding other events this as part of celebrations for his 206th birthday.

Museum Windsor is searching for items on the following topics:

  • Windsor's Prohibition era (1920s to 1930s).
  • Hiram Walker.
  • Walker family.
  • Canadian Club.
  • Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. Distillery / J.P. Wiser's Distillery.
  • Local breweries and distilleries.
  • Equipment used in the production of alcohol.
  • Rum running.
  • Local gangsters (e.g. The Purple Gang).

To arrange for a donation appointment, call Museum Windsor at 519-253-1812 or email wmuseum@citywindsor.ca.

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