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Scout Days

Eastern State Penitentiary is thrilled to invite BSA and GSUSA scouts and all youth to participate in specially-curated — virtual and in-person — learning experiences. Led by our engaging staff, all participants will enjoy interactive discussions and activities. BSA and GSUSA scouts will also satisfy badge requirements.

In-Person Scout Day: Sunday, November 17, 2024

Virtual Scout Day: Saturday, December 14, 2024

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to receive updates by email including notifications when tickets go on sale for future Scout Days.

Two people in an orange basket lift, wearing hard hats, in front of Eastern State's historic stone wall

Considered the world’s first true penitentiary, Eastern State’s architectural design served as a model for over 300 prisons across the globe. Now a National Historic Landmark and criminal justice museum, Eastern State staff carefully navigate decisions around conservation and preservation while interpreting the past and present of prison reform in the building’s historic cellblocks.

All youth who participate will engage in interactive activities and conversations, learn about Eastern State's history and influence, and receive an introduction to the field of architecture and historic preservation. In addition...

BSA scouts who participate will satisfy all requirements for the Architecture Merit Badge; however, requirements 1a and 4 must be completed independently outside of Scout Day. Instructions are provided below. Members of Eastern State's staff are certified to serve as Architecture Merit Badge counselors through the BSA’s Cradle of Liberty Council.

GSUSA scouts who participate will satisfy all requirements for the STEM Career Exploration Badge. Girl Scouts will also satisfy a portion of the Think Like an Engineer Journey by learning how engineers use design thinking to solve problems and use their skills to change the world. To finish this journey, Girl Scouts must also complete three hands-on design challenges independently. Examples provided below.

Still have questions about in-person or virtual Scout Days? Check out our FAQ below.

In-Person Scout Day: Sunday, November 17, 2024

Virtual Scout Day: Saturday, December 14, 2024

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to receive updates by email including notifications when tickets/passes go on sale for future Scout Days.

In-Person Scout Day ticket prices for 2024 will be announced soon. Each participating scout, youth, or caregiver attending must purchase a separate ticket.

Virtual Scout Day passes are $15 for all youth. Each participating scout or youth must purchase a separate pass.

Tickets/passes for all Scout Days will go on sale 6-8 weeks prior to each event. Tickets/passes must be purchased online in advance.

Yes! While Scout Days are designed with BSA and GSUSA badge requirements in mind, this program was also designed to be fun, engaging, and educational for all youth. 

All are welcome to attend Scout Day!

Scout Day is recommended for children between the ages of 7-18.


You can plan on being at Eastern State Penitentiary for about three hours. Timed entry windows begin at 11:30 am and end at 1:00 pm. The Scout Day program will conclude 4:00 pm, but you are welcome to stay until the penitentiary closes at 5:00 pm.


This is a one-day program from 11:00 am to 2:15 pm ET. Learn more about the programming here. The day will be comprised of several sessions lasting 30-60 minutes each. There will be a 30-minute break for lunch midday.


When you arrive at Eastern State, you’ll receive a packet of materials that includes questions, reflections, and activities to complete as you move throughout the day.

First, you'll take our self-guided "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour. An mp3 player and headphones will guide you through the penitentiary complex and give an overview of Eastern State's history. 

Next, you'll...

  • listen to three additional audio stops,
  • explore our exhibits The Big Graph and Prisons Today,
  • and engage with staff and volunteers at three different activity stations.
    • Activity Station 1: Prison Architecture Matching Game — This two-part matching game will introduce participants to five different prison designs and encourage them to examine the role architecture plays in our prison system.
    • Activity Station 2: Eastern State Rocks! — Eastern State Penitentiary is famous for its massive stone walls and towering cellblocks. In this hands-on activity, participants will learn about the geology of Eastern State’s most common building materials.
    • Activity Station 3: Eastern State Lego Contest — Eastern State’s radial plan influenced prison architecture around the world. Using a 37-piece Lego kit, participants will compete in a time trial to build a simple Eastern State replica.  

At the end of the day, participating BSA scouts should bring their packet to an Eastern State merit badge counselor who will approve the packet and provide a Blue Card, which scouts can turn in to their troop leader. GSUSA scouts should self-report their completed packet to their troop leader.


Below is the schedule for previous virtual Scout Days. All times listed in ET.

  • 11:00 am – 11:45 am - Let the Doors Be of Iron: A Virtual Tour of Eastern State Penitentiary
  • 11:45 am – 12:15 pm - ”A Model for the World”: The Ethics and Influence of Prison Architecture
  • 12:15 pm – 12:45 pm - Lunch Break
  • 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm - Building a Prison, Saving a Landmark
  • 1:45 pm – 2:15 pm - Architecture and Historic Preservation Career Panel

For Virtual Scout Day, each participating scout or youth must purchase a separate pass. 

For In-Person Scout Day, each participating scout, youth, or caregiver attending must purchase a separate ticket.

All scouts will receive a confirmation email from [email protected] after the last session.

  • BSA Scouts: BSA scouts will receive a prefilled blue card with their confirmation email; however, they must complete requirements 1a and 4 on their own to qualify for their Architecture Merit Badge. These requirements can be completed before or after Scout Day at Eastern State. It is the responsibility of the scout to review their building sketch and scale drawing with their troop leader before submitting their blue card for the Architecture Merit Badge. The blue card will have requirements 1a and 4 prefilled for convenience:
    • Requirement 1a: Tour your community and list the different types of buildings you see. Try to identify buildings that can be associated with a specific period of history or style of architecture. Make a sketch of the building you most admire.
    • Requirement 4: Measure a room such as one where you live or where your troop meets. Make an accurately scaled drawing of the room’s floor plan showing walls, doors, closets, windows, and any built-in furniture or cabinets. Neatly label your drawing with the following: your name, the date, what room you drew, and the scale of the drawing. (Drawing scale: 1⁄4 inch = 1 foot)
  • GSUSA Scouts: GSUSA scouts can use the confirmation email to self-report completion of the requirements for the STEM Career Exploration badge to their troop leader. 

    To finish the Think Like an Engineer Journey, Girl Scouts must complete three hands-on design challenges independently at another time. Examples of appropriate hands-on challenges based on scout level can be found here. It is the responsibility of each Girl Scout to complete and report these activities to their troop leader.

Yes! As long as scouts attend all sessions, and complete any additional requirements listed above, they will receive full credit for completing their respective badge.

Both In-Person and Virtual Scout Day tickets are valid for a specific date and time. All sales are final. The in-person program runs rain or shine.

There are no refunds or exchanges, including for unused or partially used tickets.

If you have additional questions, please email us at [email protected] for assistance. 

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner