Apr 01, 2008
Eastern State Penitentiary Offers Guided Tours
On Subjects of Escapes, Daily Life, Archival Collections and Prisoner Uprisings
(Philadelphia, April 2008): In addition to The Voices of Eastern State audio tour, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site offers visitors an opportunity to experience hands-on, interactive programming with Special Topic Tours. The tours are offered several times a day every day of the season, on a variety of subjects including Escapes, Daily Life, Archival Collections and Prisoner Uprisings.
Visitors will gather in Cellblock Eight of the penitentiary complex, an area adjacent to Al Capone’s Cell. After a quick introduction, the groups will proceed on a quick tour that illustrates a specific subject. The tours will last about thirty minutes, and are meant to supplement the audio tour program.
Groups will be limited to thirty visitors (first come, first served; no reservations), and will be led by an Eastern State Penitentiary tour guide. All tours and exhibits are included in the single admission price and are designed for visitors age seven and up.
The topics for 2008 will be:
- “Escape!” – More than 100 men and women escaped from Eastern State during its 142 year history. Visitors tour sites of doomed escape attempts… and one that was successful.
- “Life Behind the Walls” - What was life like for officers and inmates over the 142 years of Eastern State’s history? This tour offers a comparison between the lives of inmates and officers over time.
- “Left Behind” - Visitors handle reproductions of objects, photographs, and inmate crafts from the historic site archives. What can each tell us about life here?
- “Prisoner Uprisings” - Inmates gathered to protest conditions they felt were unfair nearly a dozen times during the prison’s history. The group tours the site of the 1961 riot and other inmate uprisings.
A schedule of tour times can be found on the penitentiary’s web site at www.EasternState.org. More information is available at (215) 236-3300. Eastern State Penitentiary is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and eight blocks from the Franklin Institute.