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Hands-On History

Eastern 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 about five minutes. 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 follow.

How to Open a CellAnytime – Learn to Play Bocce
Anytime – How to Open a Cell

10:05 am – Open the Massive Front Gate
10:05 am – Synagogue
10:20 am – Punishment Cells
10:20 am – Soup Alley (Dining Halls) 
10:35 am – Chaplain's Office Murals
10:35 am – Hospital (20 min.)
10:50 am –Punishment Cells

Open the Massive Front Gate11:05 am – Hospital (20 min.)
11:05 am – Synagogue
11:20 am – Soup Alley (Dining Halls) 
11:35 am – Chaplain's Office Murals
11:35 am – Hospital (20 min.)
11:50 am – Punishment Cells

12:05 pm – Synagogue
12:20 pm – Soup Alley (Dining Halls) 
12:35 pm – Chaplain’s Office Murals
12:35 – Hospital (20 min.)
12:50 pm – Punishment Cells

1:05 pm – Synagogue
1:20 pm – Soup Alley (Dining Halls) 
1:35 pm – Hospital (20 min.)
1:35 pm – Chaplain's Office Murals
1:50 pm – Punishment Cells

Punishment Cells2:00 pm – Hour-Long Guided Tour & Discussion on Prisons Today (Subject to availability)
2:05 pm – Hospital (20 min.)
2:05 pm – Synagogue
2:20 pm – Soup Alley (Dining Halls) 
2:35 pm – Chaplain's Office Murals
2:35 pm – Hospital (20 min.)
2:50 pm – Punishment Cells

3:05 pm – Hospital (20 min.)
3:05 pm – Synagogue
3:20 pm – Soup Alley (Dining Halls) 
3:35 pm – Chaplain's Office Murals
3:35 pm – Hospital (20 min.)
3:50 pm – Punishment Cells

4:05 pm – Hospital (20 min.)
4:05 pm – Synagogue
4:20 pm – Chaplain’s Office Murals
4:35 pm – Punishment Cells
4:35 pm – Soup Alley (Dining Halls)
4:50 pm – Chaplain's Office Murals
4:50 pm – Open the Massive Front Gate

Programming subject to change due to weather conditions

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner