Hands-On History - Summer 2014 Schedule

Hands-On HistoryEastern State Penitentiary Historic Site literally hands visitors the keys to the cellblocks with Hands-On History interactive experiences. These short demonstrations take place throughout the penitentiary complex, each lasting five minutes or less. An expert Eastern State tour guide leads each activity, although visitors do the bulk of the physical activities themselves.

Included in standard admission. Tour times and descriptions follow.

Play this traditional Italian sport practiced by inmates at Eastern State throughout the 20th century.

How to Open a Cell

Unlock one of Eastern State's intricate "escape-proof" cell doors.

Prison Break
Step into the cell where 12 inmates embarked on a doomed escape under the wall.

20 min past and 50 min past each hour
Lower a hidden panel to expose cell doors and padlocks from the 1830s.

Chaplain's Office
5 min past and 35 min past each hour
Discover the beautiful, inmate-painted murals and learn about the extraordinary work to save them.

Front Gate

10:00 - 10:25; 4:50 - 5:00
Try your hand opening the penitentiary's complex and heavy front gate.

The Operating Room
10:35, 11:35, 1:35, 2:35, 3:35, 4:35
Step into the long-abandoned surgical space, part of the prison's once state-of-the-art hospital.

10:50, 11:50, 1:50, 2:50, 3:50
Decide the fate of the prison's first warden after reviewing evidence from a real scandal.

Punishment Cells

11:05, 1:05, 2:05, 3:05, 4:05
Descend into "the Hole" to see the windowless, underground punishment cells.

Soup Alley
11:20, 1:20, 2:20, 3:20, 4:20
Explore the long, eerie hallway lined with serving windows that once led to the prison's dining halls.

Hour-Long Guided Tour
An overview of Eastern State's fascinating history, led by an expert tour guide. (Free ticket is required and available at Admissions, subject to availability.)