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Scout Days

Eastern State Penitentiary is thrilled to invite BSA and GSUSA scouts to participate in specially-curated learning experiences. Led by our engaging staff, scouts will enjoy a full day of interactive discussions and activities while satisfying badge requirements.

Virtual Scout Day: Architecture
Saturday, November 6, 2021
10:00 am - 4:00 pm ET
All sessions take place live via Zoom.

Online Passes are available now! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to purchase.

Considered the world’s first true penitentiary, Eastern State’sTwo people in an orange basket lift, wearing hard hats, in front of Eastern State's historic stone wall 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.

Participating scouts will meet with a variety of experts and engage in interactive activities and conversations. Scouts will learn about Eastern State’s history and influence, receive an introduction to the fields of architecture and historic preservation, and discuss the logistical challenges and ethical issues that complicate the role of prison architecture then and now.

BSA scouts that participate will satisfy all requirements for the Architecture Merit Badge. Members of our staff are certified to serve as merit badge counselors through the BSA’s Cradle of Liberty Council.

GSUSA scouts that participate will satisfy all requirements for the STEM Career Exploration Badge and/or the Think Like an Engineer Badge.

Still have questions about Scout Days? Check out our FAQ below.

Our next Scout Day will take place virtually, via Zoom, on Saturday, November 6, 2021 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET.

Online Passes are available now. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to purchase.

The program costs $15 per scout, and all scouts must purchase an Online Pass in advance to reserve their spot.

Online Passes are available now. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to purchase.

Our November 6, 2021 Scout Day is a virtual, one-day program from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. The day will be comprised of four 30-60 minute sessions with 5-10 minute breaks between them. In addition, there will be a 60-minute break midday for lunch. Mandatory sessions will conclude by 3:30 pm. An optional support session willl continue to 4:00 pm.

Below is the schedule for virtual Scout Day on November 6, 2021. Click here for a more detailed description of the sessions. All times listed in ET.

  • 10:00 am – 11:00 am - Let the Doors Be of Iron: A Virtual Tour of Eastern State Penitentiary
  • 11:10 am – 12:00 pm - ”A Model for the World”: The Ethics and Influence of Prison Architecture
  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm - Lunch Break
  • 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm - Building a Prison, Saving a Landmark: Part 1
  • 1:50 pm - 2:35 pm - Building a Prison, Saving a Landmark: Part 2
  • 2:45 pm – 3:30 pm - Chop Wood, Carry Water: Architecture and Historic Preservation Career Panel
  • 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm - “What do I do next?”: Optional Support Session

All sessions for virtual Scout Days will be led by one of our educators live via Zoom. Because these are live sessions, scouts must be present at the scheduled times to participate. All registered scouts will receive an email with a personalized Zoom link at least 24 hours prior to the class. Links are unique, password protected, and can’t be shared. In addition to this link, scouts will need access to a laptop, tablet or other Internet-connected device to participate.

Each participating BSA or GSUSA scout must purchase a separate Online Pass.

Online Passes are available now. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to purchase.

An expert educator will monitor the chat and answer any questions that your scout may have. Our staff is also available outside of the class time, if necessary, for one week after the program. Feel free to email us at [email protected].

In addition to attending all of the virtual sessions, scouts are required to complete two short activities independently or with their troop to qualify for their badge:

  • Scouts must walk around their neighborhood with a caregiver or guardian, choose their favorite building, and assemble a brief report.
  • Scouts will also be required to create a scale drawing of a room they frequent. The drawing needed to be neatly labeled with their name, date, type of room drawn, the contents of the room, and a scale of the room's dimensions.

Detailed instructions on how to complete both of these requirements can be found in the badge packet, which will be sent out at the end of Scout Day. All scouts should complete and submit this packet to Eastern State within 1-2 weeks of Scout Day. Packets should be submitted via email to [email protected] or printed and mailed to:

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
Attention: Virtual Scout Day
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Scouts will receive a badge packet at the end of Scout Day. Within 1-2 weeks of Scout Day, each scout should submit their completed badge packet to [email protected] or by mail to:

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
Attention: Virtual Scout Day
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Please allow our staff 2-4 weeks to process your packet after you’ve submitted it.

  • BSA Scouts - Once we've reviewed and approved your badge packet, an Eastern State staff member will sign a digital Blue Card PDF and send it to the BSA scout via email. The scout must then get their troop leader to sign off and send the Blue Card in to receive their official merit badge.
     
  • GSUSA Scouts - Once we've reviewed your badge packet, an Eastern State staff member will send you an email noting it has been approved. GSUSA scouts should then use this approved packet to self-report completion of the requirements for the STEM Career Exploration Badge and/or the Think Like An Engineer Badge to their troop leader.

We will cover all the listed requirements, either during our sessions or as part of independent work assigned, but it is the scout’s responsibility to complete each activity.

Both in-session and independent work should be included in the badge packet submission, which will be checked before a Blue Card is issued for BSA scouts or the packet is approved for GSUSA scouts.

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

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner