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Events

  • June 30, 2017, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

    Wawa Welcome America: Free Museum Night

    Free. No reservations required. Explore America’s most historic prison at dusk! Free Museum Night admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi, Hands-On History interactive experiences, history exhibits, and artist installations. After your tour, relax on the penitentiary baseball diamond and take in unique views of the city skyline while enjoying a bite to eat from Sum Pig Food Truck and local beers and wines from Urban Saloon.



  • July 9, 2017, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

    Community Workshop: Protest Sign Making

    Free. No reservations required. The Bearded Ladies Cabaret and Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site invite all Philadelphians to a Bastille Day pre-party. Sharpen your metaphorical pitchforks for the big revolution, hang with Edith Piaf and the Bearded Ladies, and make protest signs, ribbon dancers, and other props for the show on July 15. Plus, you'll get a sneak peak at the revolutionary dance and learn some secret cheers! Materials will be provided free of charge.  



  • July 11, 2017, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

    Lockey Maisonneuve: Yoga in Jail

    Free. Reception to follow. Lockey Maisonneuve, a certified yoga guide, will discuss healing from the trauma of childhood prostitution, breast cancer, and the murder of her mother. She will then lead attendees through a trauma-informed yoga session on the prison’s baseball diamond (weather permitting). Guests are invited to bring a yoga mat and to dress comfortably. Lockey Maisonneuve is the board secretary for the Newark Yoga Movement, which brings yoga to schools and communities in Newark, NJ. Lockey teaches yoga at the Essex County Correctional Facility, as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.  This event is part of Eastern State's ongoing Searchlight Series of events addressing issues in contemporary corrections. The Searchlight Series discussions take place the first Tuesday of every month, free and open to the public. No reservations required.



  • July 15, 2017, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

    Bastille Day

    23rd Annual Bastille Day Festival at Eastern State Penitentiary This performance will put a song on your lips, bread in your hands, and a little revolutionary swagger in your step! What to Expect Bastille Day is BACK! Here's what to expect for 2017.  Eastern State Penitentiary is teaming up with The Bearded Ladies, an experimental cabaret troupe, to present the entire French Revolution in an hour-long spectacle of song, dance, and raining Tastykakes for the penitentiary’s annual Bastille Day festival, to be held Saturday, July 15, 2017. This "completely historically accurate" reenactment of the storming of the Bastille will be emceed by the voice of Paris herself, Edith Piaf, and will include appearances by Joan of Arc, Benjamin Franklin, Sojourner Truth, and a six-foot French Baguette. This year's performance will tackle U.S. border control, the death of healthcare, and Vladimir Putin. Expect confetti cannons, stilt walkers, a cardboard horse, and a catwalk so long it divides the whole of Fairmount Avenue. This FREE theatrical performance will begin at 5:30 pm and will culminate in a playful reenactment of the storming of the Bastille. French revolutionaries will storm the grim walls of “the Bastille” (Eastern State Penitentiary), will capture Marie Antoinette (portrayed by Terry McNally, co-owner of London Grill and Paris Wine Bar) and, ignoring her mocking cries of “Let them eat Tastykake!” will drag her to a real, functioning guillotine as 2,000 Tastykakes are flung from the prison’s towers. The performance will take place on Fairmount Avenue, free and open to the public. For those interested in a better (French Bourgeoisie) view, exclusive VIP seating is available. VIP tickets include reserved seating, beer and refreshments, heckling from the lower classes, and revolution goodie bags. Click here to purchase VIP tickets. Following the performance, local Fairmount restaurants will come alive with French-themed entertainment as well as food and drink specials, and the penitentiary will reopen for rare twilight tours at a discounted admission price ($8 online, or $10 at the door). Whether you’re a revolutionary or an aristocrat, there’s something for you in this celebration of all things French! Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité! Schedule of Events 10 am to 5 pm: Tour Eastern State Penitentiary. Standard Admission. Last entry 4 pm. 5:30 pm: Bastille Day cabaret performance. FREE! 6:30 to 8:30 pm: Explore Eastern State Penitentiary after-hours. Admission is $8 online, or $10 at the door. Starting 6:30 pm: French-themed food and drink specials at select Fairmount restaurants. After Parties After the performance, visit one of these restaurants for French-themed food & drink specials! 



  • September 10, 2017, 6:30 am – 10:00 am

    ESP Insider: Photography Morning

    Members only. Members have exclusive access to photograph parts of the penitentiary in the early morning light. Event includes light refreshments after 9 am. Space is limited. Members will receive an email with reservation details. Note: This is a members-only event. Join today!



  • September 22, 2017, 7:00 pm – November 11, 2017, 9:00 pm

    Terror Behind the Walls

    Select nights, Sept. 22 through Nov. 11. Tickets starting at $19. Terror Behind the Walls, America’s largest haunted house, is called “perfect for Halloween” by The New York Times, named #1 in the nation by Forbes, and featured on NBC’s TODAY Show. Terror Behind the Walls takes place inside the massive, castle-like walls of Eastern State Penitentiary and is consistently ranked among the top haunted attractions in America. All proceeds from Terror Behind the Walls benefit the preservation of Eastern State Penitentiary, a National Historic Landmark. Terror Behind the Walls does not affect operation of the historic site, which remains open for tours every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. For FAQs, preview videos, and tickets, visit terrorbehindthewalls.com



  • November 11, 2017, 12:00 pm – November 12, 2017, 7:00 pm

    Members Photo Contest

    Standard Admission. Eastern State is one of the most photogenic locations in America. Each year photographers travel from all across the globe to photograph the penitentiary. Each member may submit one color and one black and white Eastern State Penitentiary photograph for the annual Members Photo Contest. Photos remain on view throughout the weekend. Visitors to the historic site can cast votes for their favorite images throughout the weekend. On Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm, two sets of winners are announced in the color and black and white categories. A guest judge selects one set of winners, and the results of the weekend’s voting are also announced. Each first place winner from the Members Photo Contest has the opportunity to schedule a four-hour, private, behind-the-scenes photo shoot of Eastern State Penitentiary. Photo contest guidelines will be available online soon.



2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner