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2022 Special Event Highlights

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, 2022 Season

April 6, 2022

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site hosts many special events throughout the year. 2022 highlights are outlined below. For a full current schedule, visit

Night Tours: Summer Twilight
Thursday through Sunday evenings, May 6 – Sept. 4
Separate Admission

Visitors can experience Eastern State's historic cellblocks as the sun goes down; enjoy a Triple Bottom Brewing Company beer, soft drink, or snack in The Fair Chance Beer Garden; and reflect on Eastern State's history and legacy of criminal justice reform through hands-on activities like trivia, letter-writing, and art.

Tickets are available online at or at the door subject to availability. Admission is free for Eastern State members.

The Searchlight Series
Select evenings, May through August

Eastern State Penitentiary partners with nationally recognized criminal justice experts to present an ongoing discussion series about crime, justice, and the American prison system.

The Searchlight Series is free and open to the public; no reservations required. Available in-person at Eastern State Penitentiary, and online via Zoom and Facebook. For more information, visit

Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary
Select evenings, September 24 through November 13
Separate Admission

Halloween Nights transforms the ten-acre penitentiary complex into a sprawling Halloween festival featuring haunted houses, historic tours, live performances, themed bars, and more. All proceeds from Halloween Nights benefit the preservation and interpretation of this National Historic Landmark.

For information and tickets, visit

Pop-Up Museum
December 26 – 30
Included with admission

Historic artifacts and photographs from Eastern State’s collection will be displayed in a temporary exhibit space. Eastern State’s archives are packed with historic treasures that the public rarely sees. Thousands of artifacts are numbered and tucked carefully into museum-grade storage in the site’s administrative offices. Visitors often see photographs of these treasures, but the abandoned penitentiary's lack of museum-quality exhibit space makes it impossible to exhibit artifacts year-round.

Pop-Up Museum is included with admission to the historic site. Tickets are available online at or at the door subject to availability. Admission is free for Eastern State members.

About Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site:
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site interprets the legacy of American criminal justice reform, from the nation’s founding through to the present day, within the long-abandoned cellblocks of the nation’s most historic prison.

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells held approximately 80,000 people during its 142 years of operation, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is open for tours year-round. Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; award-winning exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

In recent years, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site has been awarded the prestigious Excellence in Exhibitions award by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the nation’s highest award in exhibition development and design, for its exhibit Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration, as well as the Institutional Award for Special Achievement from the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and the Trustee Emeritus Award for Stewardship from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Returning Citizens Tour Guide Project, which hires people who were formerly incarcerated to lead tours of the historic site, has won the EdCom Award for Innovation in Museum Education by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and has been featured internationally by such networks as the BBC and others. For more information, visit

Marketing support is financed in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development.


2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner