Events

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Nazgol Ghandnoosh: Want to End Mass Incarceration? Reform Life Sentences.

Free. Reception to follow.

In U.S. prisons, one in nine people is serving a life sentence. Bipartisan support for criminal justice reform is growing, but policymakers have yet to address a key driver of mass incarceration: long prison sentences for serious and violent offenses. Nazgol Ghandnoosh will explore how lawmakers have toughened parole policies and practices in recent decades.

Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., is a research analyst at The Sentencing Project. Her work on racial disparities in the justice system, public opinion about punishment, and the scope of reform efforts has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and WNYC’s On the Media.

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, April 8, 2017 (All day) - Monday, April 17, 2017 (All day)

Pop-Up Museum: Prison Breaking News

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 it impossible to exhibit the artifacts year-round.

For 10 days only, Eastern State Penitentiary presents its fifth annual Pop-Up Museum! On display for 2017 will be news paraphernalia, including historic photos, articles, films, and objects (inmate-made crafts, paintings, confiscated shanks and other weapons) that depict various newsworthy activities inside the walls.

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

ESP Insider: Pop-Up Museum After Hours

Members only

Enjoy special evening hours to see the 2017 Pop-Up Museum: Prison Breaking News, a temporary display of historic photos, articles, films, and objects that depict various newsworthy activities inside the walls. Event includes a casual reception.

Space is limited. Members will receive an email with reservation details.

Note: This is a members-only event. Click here to join today!

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Public Art and Prison Reform

Free

In recent years, prison reform has entered public consciousness as a critical issue. Public art has been an important avenue for raising greater awareness of the toll of mass incarceration.

This event features artists, educators, and nonprofit administrators discussing art making that engages prison populations and aesthetic practices that critique mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex.

Panelists include:
Robyn Buseman, Director of the Restorative Justice Program
Maria Gaspar, Artist and Educator
Jared Owens, Artist
Isaac Scott, Artist and Co-Founder of Confined Arts
Sable Elyse Smith, Artist, Curator, and Educator
Moderated by Nicole R. Fleetwood

The program is a collaboration between Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, the Restorative Justice Program of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and Professor Nicole Fleetwood of Rutgers University and is sponsored by the Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Fellowship.

Sunday, April 23, 2017 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm

ESP Insider: Preview of Hospital Block Tours

Members only

Be the first to see the recently stabilized and conserved Hospital Block corridor before it opens to the public in May. Take an extended Hands-On History tour with an expert guide. Event includes light refreshments.

Space is limited. Members will receive an email with reservation details.

Note: This is a members-only event. Click here to join today!

Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 11:30am

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 a Q&A session.

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Jimmy Dolan, Chick Goodroe and Allen Hornblum: The K&A Gang and Eastern State Penitentiary

Free. Reception to follow.

For more than a quarter-century, Kensington, a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia, was home to the K&A Gang, who traveled from Bar Harbor to Boca Raton breaking into upscale homes. Most of the gang members eventually spent time at Eastern State Penitentiary. Author Allen Hornblum chronicled the gang in his book, Confessions of a Second Story Man. He will be joined by Jimmy Dolan and Chick Goodroe, former K&A Gang members, who will recount their experiences in the gang and their time at Eastern State Penitentiary.

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 5, 2017 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Reception for the 2017 Season

Free

Eastern State Penitentiary hosts a changing series of exhibits and artist installations as part of its ongoing programming.

Please join us as we celebrate Eastern State Penitentiary's 2017 season! Be among the first to walk the corridor of Cellblock 3 (the Hospital Block), and to view three new artist installations. Light refreshments will be served.

Friday, May 12, 2017 - 9:00pm - Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 12:30am

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

Friday: $75
Saturday: $85

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.

Sunday, September 10, 2017 - 6:30am - 10:00am

ESP Insider: Photography Morning

Members only

Members have exclusive access to photograph parts of the penitentiary in the early morning light. Event includes light refreshments after 9 am.

Space is limited. Members will receive an email with reservation details.

Note: This is a members-only event. Click here to join today!

Saturday, November 11, 2017 (All day) - Sunday, November 12, 2017 (All day)

Members' Photo Contest

Standard Admission

Eastern State is one of the most photogenic locations in America. Each year photographers travel from all across the globe to photograph the penitentiary.

Each member may submit one color and one black and white Eastern State Penitentiary photograph for the annual Members’ Photo Contest. Photos remain on view throughout the weekend. Visitors to the historic site can cast votes for their favorite images throughout the weekend.

On Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm, two sets of winners are announced in the color and black and white categories. A guest judge selects one set of winners, and the results of the weekend’s voting are also announced. Each first place winner from the Members' Photo Contest has the opportunity to schedule a four-hour, private, behind-the-scenes photo shoot of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Photo contest guidelines will be available online soon.