Skip to main content

Purchase Tickets


  • January 30, 2023

    Getting Out & Staying Out: Eastern State Escapes

    While escape attempts were not a common occurrence, truly successful escapes from the penitentiary were even more unusual. Still, at least four people that we currently know of escaped Eastern State and remained permanently at large.

    Read more

  • June 28, 2022

    Reflections on Roe v. Wade

    In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, Eastern State staff reached out to artist Rachel Livedalen. Her piece "Doris Jean" explores the high-profile case of heiress Doris Jean Ostreicher, whose illegal abortion and subsequent death led to Milton Schwartz’s imprisonment at Eastern State in the 1950s.

    Read more

  • June 6, 2022

    Pride Month at Eastern State

    We are proud to support our LGBTQIA+ staff, visitors, and friends during Pride Month and every month.

    Read more

  • April 8, 2021

    Uncovering Eastern State’s Dental Lab

    When Eastern State Penitentiary opened for historic tours in the 1990s, staff were faced with the monumental task of stabilizing the building. Over many years, numerous trees were cut down and tons of building detritus were removed to clear the corridors and make the site accessible.

    Read more

  • April 7, 2021

    Prison Libraries: Past & Present

    It’s National Library Week! Every April since 1958, the American Library Association has encouraged people across the country to celebrate our nation’s libraries and the contributions of library workers.

    Read more

  • December 21, 2020

    Christmas in Prison

    Trimming the tree. Baking cookies. Wrapping presents. Christmas is a holiday rich in traditions, some universal and others passed down through families for generations.

    Read more

  • December 15, 2020

    Eastern State Experiences: Last-Minute Gift Ideas

    Earlier this month, we shared some recommendations for holiday gifts available in our online museum store.

    Read more

  • December 14, 2020

    Hanukkah in Prison

    For eight nights every year, Jewish people around the world celebrate the festival of lights, adding a new flame to their Hanukkah menorahs each sundown to commemorate an ancient miracle.

    Read more

  • December 3, 2020

    Shop Small: An Eastern State Holiday Gift Guide

    Want to support Philadelphia arts and culture this holiday season and pick up some unique gifts for everyone on your list? Look no further! Museum stores are a great place to find that perfect present and make a difference at the same time.

    Read more

  • June 12, 2020

    Juneteenth: On Slavery, Emancipation, and Incarceration

    June 19, 2020 marks the 155-year anniversary of Juneteenth—a holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas, which effectively emancipated the last remaining enslaved people in the United States. But the vestiges of slavery continue to ripple through our country.

    Read more

  • June 8, 2020

    Penmanship and Puzzles: Transcribing Our Archives

    Like many people, my plans changed pretty drastically due to COVID-19. In March, I was entering my final semester as a graduate public history student at Villanova University. I planned on finishing my program with an internship this summer.

    Read more

  • May 19, 2020

    Pets in Prison: From Pep to the Present

    People from all over the world come to visit Eastern State Penitentiary. Most are excited to get a look at Al Capone’s Cell, learn about the penitentiary’s history, and gaze at the site’s impressive architecture. What they don’t expect to see is an historic mugshot of a four-legged friend.

    Read more

  • April 7, 2020

    Pandemics and Prison Policies: 1918 and Now

    Please Note: The statistics shared here were accurate as of April 7, 2020. COVID-19 is a rapidly progressing virus, so infection rates may have changed by the time you are reading this article.

    Read more

  • January 31, 2020

    Opioids at Eastern State

    From debates about opening the first safe injection site in America to a

    Read more

  • July 30, 2019

    Preserving the Past, Cementing a New Future

    One of the things Liz Trumbull likes best about Eastern State is the way the building itself tells visitors about its past. She says that since Eastern State is a stabilized ruin, you can “look at a wall and read what happened.

    Read more

  • May 7, 2019

    20 Years of Stories: Our Final Alumni Reunion

    Every year for the past two decades, Eastern State Penitentiary has hosted a fascinating gathering of “alumni.” One Saturday each spring, former prisoners, guards, and staff members return to the site to share their memories of living and working behind Eastern State’s walls.

    Read more

  • May 7, 2019

    Seeking Guest Films for Hidden Lives Illuminated

    Eastern State Penitentiary is seeking guest films to be screened during our upcoming project, Hidden Lives Illuminated, August 15 through September 12, 2019!

    Read more

  • February 6, 2019

    Samuel Young: "An Aberration of Mind"

    Editors’ Note: Today’s guest blogger is Taylor Bagwell, a student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. Taylor is double majoring in American Studies and Finance and enjoys being a sister of Alpha Delta Pi. She and her professor, Jonathan W.

    Read more

  • December 20, 2018

    New Year's at Eastern State

    For most people, December 31 is a day spent with loved ones counting down the last minutes of another year – reminiscing about days past and sharing wishes for the months ahead. Ringing in the New Year from a prison cell, like celebrating any holiday while incarcerated, is a dismal prospect.

    Read more

  • December 18, 2018

    A Fresh Take on Al Capone

    "The whole room was suffused in the glow of a desk lamp which stood on a polished desk.... On the once-grim walls of the penal chamber hung tasteful paintings, and the strains of a waltz were being emitted by a powerful cabinet radio receiver of handsome design and fine finish..."

    Read more

  • November 15, 2018

    Thanksgiving in Prison

    Americans have been celebrating Thanksgiving for centuries – spending a day every November eating good food, entertaining company, and expressing gratitude.

    Read more

  • October 22, 2018

    Stories and Second Chances: Rob Rosa, Board Spotlight

    Everyone has a story. The stories we tell others and the stories told about us make a lasting impact. Rob Rosa, an Eastern State Board member since 2015, believes that if his story can touch even one person, then it is worth sharing.

    Read more

  • October 15, 2018

    Skeletons in Our Cellblocks

    I recently listened to a podcast about paleontology. The hosts talked about the painstaking work of unearthing bones and other fossilized remains, studying them, and putting all the pieces together. 

    Read more

  • October 5, 2018

    A Letter to Lincoln

    Editors’ Note: Today’s guest blogger is Taylor Bagwell, a student at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. Taylor is double majoring in American Studies and Finance and enjoys being a sister of Alpha Delta Pi.

    Read more

  • June 27, 2018

    Eastern State Member Spotlight: Jennifer Tomczak

    We asked Jennifer Tomczak, Director of Interactivity for Terror Behi

    Read more

  • December 14, 2017

    Eastern Apps: Visualizing Historic Prison Data

    The American Philosophical Society Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship recently launched a suite of apps that allow researchers to explore historic prison data.

    Read more

  • November 16, 2017

    Congratulations to our 15th Annual Members Photo Contest Winners

    Members submitted a diverse array of photographs for the annual Members Photo Contest. Visitors to Eastern State Penitentiary viewed the display of photographs all weekend-long on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12 and voted for their favorite Black and White as well as Color entry.

    Read more

  • June 9, 2017

    I want a rest!

    The question most frequently asked about Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site’s extensive collection of more than 4,500 mugshots is, “What’s that on their heads?”

    Read more

  • April 25, 2017

    Orange is the New Black: The Prequel

    Like hordes of other American pop culture consumers, I’m watching—and loving—the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. The show, set at a minimum security women’s prison, explores the daily struggles of a diverse cast of female inmates, as well as their keepers.

    Read more

  • April 25, 2017

    Should Architects Be Discouraged from Designing Prisons?

    Michael Kimmelman wrote in The New York Times last week about a debate within the American Institute of Architects.

    Read more

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner