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Phase 1 Construction

The first phase of construction of our planned visitor center is currently underway. The work will not impact our hours of operation; however, operations may be modified during your visit. Please be aware that some areas of the site may be noisy. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please Note: Due to ongoing public health concerns related to the novel coronavirus, Eastern State Penitentiary is temporarily closed to the public until further notice. Additional updates will be shared on this page.

About the Project
This initial phase of construction – projected to take place from fall 2019 through spring 2020 – will include upgrades to electricity and plumbing infrastructure and will lay the groundwork for the eventual construction of a new, state-of-the-art visitor center. Phase I will also include a new tour launch point, providing visitors with ample seating, a water bottle refilling station, and protection from inclement weather. 

The addition of a new visitor center, once sufficient funds are raised, will allow us to better serve you, our visitors. The space will feature a climate-controlled atrium with dramatic views of the penitentiary’s stone tower, and will improve visitor flow, increase access to the site for people of all abilities, and provide modern restrooms. It will also permit for increased programming on issues of contemporary corrections.

You can learn more about our planned visitor center here.

March 2020 Update
With the help of several generous grants, we laid the groundwork for future amenities at Eastern State and, at the same time, invested in making our neighborhood a little bit greener. Contractors built new "subsurface infiltration basins" to integrate green stormwater practices into our site infrastructure. The basins, buried feet below concrete paving, will collect and store stormwater in perforated pipes and a bed of gravel before allowing the water to slowly seep into the ground. This system will reduce flooding, naturally filter pollutants from the water, and increase groundwater to help local streams and creeks in times of drought.

View photos and read previous phase one updates here.

Questions about Your Visit?
Please contact our guest support team at [email protected] or (215) 236-5111 x210.

We look forward to welcoming you soon!

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner