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Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions

March 23, 2018–August 19, 2018

Pick Your Poison examines how mind-altering drugs have been used throughout the history of America.

Featuring over forty medicines, advertisements, historic and popular culture documents and books, video footage, and paraphernalia, the exhibition explores why some drugs remain socially acceptable, while others are outlawed because of their toxic, and intoxicating, characteristics.

These classifications have shifted at different times in history because of social and historical factors, and will continue to change. The exhibition explores some of the factors that have shaped the changing definition of some of our most potent drugs––alcohol, tobacco, opium, cocaine, and marijuana––from medical miracle to social menace.


Pick Your Poison is produced by the McClung Museum and co-curated by Catherine Shteynberg with content provided by the US National Library of Medicine and Manon Parry, University of Amsterdam.

The exhibition is presented by Roswitha Haas and the late Arthur Haas. Additional support is provided by Profs. Helen Baghdoyan and Ralph Lydic, Knox County, the City of Knoxville, and the Arts and Heritage Fund.

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