Events

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Joe Slobodzian: Covering Philadelphia’s Criminal Courts

Free. Reception to follow.

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Joe Slobodzian will speak about current issues in the city’s criminal court system and their intersection with the issues of 21st century urban America.

A native of Philadelphia, Slobodzian has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for more than four decades. Since 1982, he has worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has covered criminal justice and legal issues, including federal courts and Philadelphia criminal courts.

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, March 3, 2016 (All day) - Sunday, March 13, 2016 (All day)

Pop-Up Museum: Sports & Leisure

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 11 days only, Eastern State Penitentiary presents its fourth annual Pop-Up Museum! On display for 2016 will be sports paraphernalia, including a photograph of former Philadelphia baseball manager Connie Mack with Warden Cornelius Burke, as well as objects depicting recreational activities – inmate-made crafts, paintings, confiscated shanks and other weapons. Also of particular interest this year is a short movie of sports at Eastern State Penitentiary filmed in 1929, courtesy of the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections. The film has never before been shown at the historic site.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: Harold Jordan

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion topic TBD.

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, April 8, 2016 (All day) - Saturday, April 9, 2016 (All day)

Mariposa & the Saint

Tickets not yet on sale. Check back soon!

Longtime friends Sara (Mariposa) Fonseca and Julia Steele Allen have written a play through the prison wall. Over the course of three years, they smuggled out a story, crafted only by letters, which is urgent, emotional, and profound. Now, Mariposa speaks directly to the audience.

Mariposa & the Saint is a 45-minute play with two actors, a mobile set, projections, and recorded sound. All of the text comes directly from Mariposa’s letters to Julia. The performance is followed by a discussion and workshop with advocates, activists, formerly incarcerated individuals, and their families.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: Jeremy Travis

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion topic TBD.

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 6, 2016 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Reception for the 2016 Season

Free

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 2016 artists and preview new exhibits, including Prisons Today. Light refreshments served.

Friday, May 13, 2016 - 9:00pm - Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 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, May 15, 2016 - 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.

Saturday, June 4, 2016 - 11:00am - Sunday, June 5, 2016 - 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 2016 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 7, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Mike Huggins: Yoga in Prisons

Free. Reception to follow.

Mike Huggins is the Executive Director of Transformation Yoga Project, which teaches yoga and mindfulness to individuals in several Philadelphia correctional facilities. Mike will speak about yoga's ability to reduce stress and anxiety, heal trauma, and improve overall quality of life. He will then lead a brief yoga class for attendees on the prison's baseball diamond (weather permitting). Guests are invited to bring a yoga mat and to dress comfortably.

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 25, 2016 - 12:00pm - Sunday, June 26, 2016 - 4:00pm

Family Weekend: Pets in Prison with New Leash on Life USA

Standard Admission

Eastern State Penitentiary partners with New Leash on Life USA for Family Weekend: Pets in Prison.

Families discover unique stories about prison animals all weekend long! Kids hear about Eastern State Penitentiary’s most famous four-legged resident, Pep the Dog; participate in an animal-themed scavenger hunt; and find out how animals continue to play a role in prisons today.

At age 18, Norberto "Rob" Rosa was sentenced to 12 years in prison. A puppy training program there changed his life, and today Rob is the Director of Operations for New Leash on Life USA. Hear from Rob about his firsthand experience training dogs in prison, and about the work he's doing now to improve the lives of inmates and save the lives of dogs.

Following the presentation, visitors to the historic site can meet some dogs from the New Leash on Life USA program and, if interested, can adopt any dogs that haven’t yet found homes.

Family Weekend activities are available from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, included with admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.

Note: Guide dogs, service animals, or service animals in training are welcome. All other animals are prohibited.

Monday, July 4, 2016 (All day)

Independence Day

Standard Admission

Eastern State Penitentiary is open from 10 am until 5 pm and is located just three blocks from the Ben Franklin Parkway, site of the some of the best fireworks in the nation! So tour Eastern State, have dinner at one of the great neighborhood restaurants, and stay for the fireworks! Happy Independence Day!

Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: July 2016

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion topic TBD.

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, July 16, 2016 - 5:30pm

Bastille Day

Cabaret and Reenactment: Free
ESP Tours, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm: Standard Admission
ESP Tours, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm: $8 online; $10 at the door

One of Philadelphia’s most popular summertime events! Eastern State Penitentiary teams with The Bearded Ladies cabaret group to present one of Philadelphia’s largest free theatrical performances, which culminates with a playful reenactment of the Storming of the Bastille (influenced more by Monty Python than the actual French Revolution).

The performance takes place on Fairmount Avenue at 5:30 pm, free and open to the public. For those interested in a better (French Bourgeoisie) view, exclusive VIP seating is available for a donation fee. VIP tickets include seating, beer and refreshments, heckling from the lower classes, and revolution goodie bags. Tickets are available online.

Following the performance, many wonderful restaurants surrounding the penitentiary come alive with French-themed entertainment as well as food and drink specials.

Come early and take a tour of Eastern State (standard admission), or stay late and take a twilight tour following the reenactment ($8 online, or $10 at the door).

More information is available on our website.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

The Searchlight Series: August 2016

Free. Reception to follow.

Discussion topic TBD.

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.