Events

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 (All day) - Thursday, December 25, 2014 (All day)

Closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Eastern State Penitentiary is closed on Wednesday and Thursday, December 24 and 25. The site reopens Friday, December 26 at 10:00 am.

Thursday, January 1, 2015 (All day)

Closed for New Year's Day

Eastern State Penitentiary is closed on Thursday, January 1. The site reopens Friday, January 2 at 10:00 am.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Betty Jean Thompson: The Impact of Incarceration Upon Families and Communities

Free. Reception to follow.

The mother of a formerly incarcerated man, Ms. Thompson uses excerpts from her book A Small Candlelight to explore the impact of mass incarceration on communities.

She discusses “realistic healing approaches” to help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, their families, and their communities to “minimize the oppressive nature of incarceration.”

This event is part of Eastern State's ongoing Searchlight Series of events addressing issues in contemporary corrections.

Saturday, January 17, 2015 (All day) - Monday, January 19, 2015 (All day)

Martin Luther King Weekend

Readings of the Letter and Family Activities: Free
Tours of Eastern State Penitentiary: Standard Admission

Eastern State Penitentiary commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail" with special readings from the landmark text and opportunities for visitors to respond to its relevance today.

Why did the civil rights leaders of the 1960s choose jail time to demonstrate their plight? How did Dr. King’s letter, written in the margins of a newspaper and smuggled out of Birmingham Jail, create a pivotal moment in the American civil rights movement? If Dr. King were alive today, what issues would his letter address?

Readings of the Letter:
Professional actors read excerpts from King’s letter three times a day on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. An informal Q&A moderated by a civil rights scholar follows each reading, giving visitors an opportunity to respond to the letter’s relevance today. The readings are free and open to the public. Free tickets are required and available online (must be claimed 30 minutes prior to start of reading) or at the door, subject to availability.

Family Activities:
In partnership with Art Sanctuary, children ages 7-12 and their families can create art in response to themes found in the letter, and read stories about Dr. King’s life and legacy. Family activities are available from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day, free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: February 2015

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion Topic TBA.

This event is part of Eastern State's ongoing Searchlight Series of events addressing issues in contemporary corrections. The Searchlight Series discussions take place the first Tuesday of every month, free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: March 2015

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion Topic TBA.

This event is part of Eastern State's ongoing Searchlight Series of events addressing issues in contemporary corrections. The Searchlight Series discussions take place the first Tuesday of every month, free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 (All day) - Sunday, April 12, 2015 (All day)

Pop-Up Museum

Standard Admission

The archives of Eastern State Penitentiary are packed with historic treasures that the public rarely sees. Thousands of photographs, stacks of inmate-written magazines, and even shanks (homemade weapons) are numbered and tucked carefully into museum-grade storage in the site’s administrative offices.

Historic site visitors often see photographs of these treasures, but the building’s lack of museum-quality climate control makes exhibiting the objects impossible. Until now.

For 11 days only, Eastern State Penitentiary presents its third annual Pop-Up Museum! The theme for Pop-Up Museum 2015 is escapes.

Pop-Up Museum is included with admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: April 2015

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion Topic TBA.

This event is part of Eastern State's ongoing Searchlight Series of events addressing issues in contemporary corrections. The Searchlight Series discussions take place the first Tuesday of every month, free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Reception for the 2015 Season

Suggested Donation: $5.00

Eastern State Penitentiary hosts a changing series of artist installations and historic exhibits as part of its ongoing programming. Join us for a chance to meet artists Jesse Krimes, Emily Waters, Ruth Scott Blackson, and Jess Perlitz, and to see a new exhibit highlighting gangs at Eastern State and in prisons today. Light refreshments served.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: May 2015

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion Topic TBA.

This event is part of Eastern State's ongoing Searchlight Series of events addressing issues in contemporary corrections. The Searchlight Series discussions take place the first Tuesday of every month, free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Saturday, May 9, 2015 - 11:30am - 2:30pm

Alumni Reunion

Standard Admission

Some of Eastern State's alumni--former officers and inmates--return to the cellblocks to share their memories with the public during two Q&A sessions.

 

Schedule:
Q&A Session #1: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Q&A Session #2: 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

The Alumni Reunion is included with admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 8:00pm - Saturday, May 16, 2015 - 11:45pm

Party at the Pen: The Masquerade, presented by Terror Behind the Walls

Separate Admission

It's back.

Party at the Pen: The Masquerade, presented by Terror Behind the Walls, returns by popular demand. Expect luscious libations, mind-blowing beats, and intriguing adventures, as well as some new and unique talent.

Gates to some of the dark, otherwise-off-limits corridors of the abandoned prison will be momentarily unlocked. When a masked gentleman offers his outstretched hand and asks, "Are you feeling adventurous?" make haste and follow him on a thrilling journey through Eastern State's storied past.

Dance. Drink. Explore.

Click here for details and tickets.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: June 2015

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion Topic TBA.

This event is part of Eastern State's ongoing Searchlight Series of events addressing issues in contemporary corrections. The Searchlight Series discussions take place the first Tuesday of every month, free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Saturday, June 6, 2015 - 11:00am - Sunday, June 7, 2015 - 4:30pm

Prison Food Weekend: Nutraloaf from around the U.S.

Standard Admission

Eastern State Penitentiary brings back its popular Prison Food Weekend, with a focus in 2015 on Nutraloaf, the “food product” issued as punishment in many American prisons. Courts have generally upheld the rights of prisons to punish inmates with these diets, but the practice remains controversial.

Visitors to the historic site can sample Nutraloaf created using the official recipes from five U.S. states. They can then record their thoughts on a tasting card and decide for themselves whether serving Nutraloaf is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Prison Food Weekend activities are available from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm each day, included with admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 5:30pm - 8:00pm

Photographers' Twilight Hours (1 of 3)

General Admission: $20
ESP Members: Free

Photographers have Eastern State Penitentiary to themselves in the beautiful dusk light. Tripods, models, and handheld lighting equipment are all welcome during these hours. $20 admission for any person entering.

Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.

Please review our photography policies before attending Photographers' Twilight Hours.

Photo: 2014 Members' Photo Contest Winner Cheryl Kozak, “Distraction from Confinement”