April 29, 2017, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Standard Admission. Some of Eastern State's alumni--former officers and inmates--return to the cellblocks to share their memories with the public during a Q&A session. The Alumni Reunion is included with admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.
May 2, 2017, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Free. Reception to follow. For more than a quarter-century, Kensington, a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia, was home to the K&A Gang, who traveled from Bar Harbor to Boca Raton breaking into upscale homes. Most of the gang members eventually spent time at Eastern State Penitentiary. Author Allen Hornblum chronicled the gang in his book, Confessions of a Second Story Man. He will be joined by Jimmy Dolan and Chick Goodroe, former K&A Gang members, who will recount their experiences in the gang and their time at Eastern State Penitentiary. 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.
May 5, 2017, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Free. Eastern State Penitentiary hosts a changing series of exhibits and artist installations as part of its ongoing programming. Please join us as we celebrate Eastern State Penitentiary's 2017 season! Be among the first to walk the corridor of Cellblock 3 (the Hospital Block), and to view three new artist installations. Light refreshments will be served.
June 3, 2017, 11:00 am – June 4, 2017, 4:30 pm
Standard Admission. Eastern State Penitentiary brings back its popular Prison Food Weekend, with a focus in 2017 on Nutraloaf, the “food product” issued as punishment in many American prisons. Courts have generally upheld the rights of prisons to punish inmates with these diets, but the practice remains controversial. Visitors to the historic site can sample Nutraloaf created using the official recipes from five U.S. states. They can then record their thoughts on a tasting card and decide for themselves whether serving Nutraloaf is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Prison Food Weekend activities are available from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm each day, included with admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.
June 6, 2017, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
In the past 40 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has attempted to reform and rationalize the practice of capital punishment. Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker, sibling co-authors of Courting Death, conclude that the Court has failed to fix the death penalty’s many problems. They also conclude, however, that the Court’s constitutional regulation has sown the seeds for eventual abolition. Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker are law professors at Harvard Law School and the University of Texas School of Law, respectively. They have collaborated for more than 20 years on litigation, law reform, and scholarly projects addressing the American death penalty.
July 15, 2017, 2:00 pm
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! Schedule of Events 10 am to 5 pm: Tour Eastern State Penitentiary. Standard Admission. Last entry 4 pm. 2 pm to 5:30 pm: French Family Carnival, presented by Valley Green Bank. Enjoy music, games, and entertainment on Fairmount Avenue, including an inflatable obstacle course, Tastykake eating contest, water balloon toss, jumbo Jenga and Twister, face painting, and arts & crafts. Each game winner will receive a ticket. Tickets can be traded in at the prize booth. (Most activities will be free, but some may have a small fee.)] 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. What to Expect Bastille Day is BACK! Here's what to expect for 2017. 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
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
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
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.