-- Night Tours: Summer Twilight returns with after-hours tours, hands-on activities, and beer garden in partnership with Triple Bottom Brewing --
June 2, 2022
Night Tours: Summer Twilight, a new evening program that debuted at Eastern State Penitentiary last spring, returns this year with expanded operating hours: Thursday through Sunday evenings, now through September 4. Visitors can explore 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.
Night Tours visitors explore the historic site using “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour, which is narrated by actor Steve Buscemi and features the voices of former prisoners and correctional staff. The route includes popular points of interest such as Al Capone’s cell, Death Row, and the award-winning exhibit Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration.
Night Tours also includes some exclusive offerings, such as the Fair Chance Beer Garden. Presented by Eastern State Penitentiary and Triple Bottom Brewing Company, two organizations committed to fair chance hiring and social justice storytelling, the beer garden is located outdoors on the penitentiary’s baseball field and offers a selection of Triple Bottom beer for purchase. The Fair Chance Beer Garden creates meaningful, living-wage jobs for people who may otherwise be excluded from the mainstream economy, including people who have experienced homelessness or incarceration.
Visitors to The Fair Chance Beer Garden can also participate in hands-on activities as they reflect on Eastern State’s history and legacy of criminal justice reform. Activities focus on art, writing, and music, and prompt conversation on issues of justice today. Programs are anchored by monthly themes:
- The June theme is “Resilience” and includes free, trauma-informed, Friday night yoga classes by Yoga 4 Philly; nightly pop-up talks about LGBTQIA+ history at Eastern State and in prisons today; and an expungement clinic on June 24 in partnership with Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity.
- The July theme is “Justice” and will include Colorado Prison Radio playing in the beer garden nightly, a writing activity in partnership with the Prison Journalism Project, and a pop-up exhibition about prison journalism at Eastern State and in prisons today. A panel discussion on July 14 will address issues of juvenile justice.
- The August theme is “Creativity” and will include live musical performances by local artists, plus a live theater performance titled “End of Isolation” on August 13 and 14.
In addition, these activities will be available all summer:
- Letter writing to people in prison (in partnership with Let’s Get Free)
- Hands-On History tours / pop-up talks that will explore Eastern State’s history and connections to our criminal justice system today
- Grant Blvd pop-up shop on Thursday nights
- Maker space activities
Night Tours: Summer Twilight runs Thursday through Sunday evenings, now through September 4, 2022. Tickets are available online at www.EasternState.org or at the door, subject to availability. Ticket prices start at $19. Free for Eastern State members. For more information, visit www.EasternState.org/NightTours.
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 men and women 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 www.EasternState.org.