September 5, 2017, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Free. Reception to follow. Something unprecedented is happening in Philadelphia. Men and women convicted of homicide when they were minors are returning home after decades in prison. Who are they? How have they changed inside prison? John Pace and Mike Lyons, co-founders of The Redemption Project, will explore how we can better understand the stories of lifers. John Pace earned a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University during his more than 30 years of incarceration for a crime he committed when he was 17. He was released in March. Mike Lyons is an assistant professor of communication studies at Saint Joseph’s University. His work focuses on documenting and sharing the narratives of those serving life without parole. 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.
September 8, 2017, 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
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. Parkway 100, the centennial celebration of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia’s grand cultural boulevard, debuts with the "Parkway 100 We are Connected Festival" on Friday, September 8, 2017. Presented by the Parkway Council, in partnership with PECO, the cultural district open house offers 100 family-friendly activities throughout the Parkway Museums District, including free admission to Eastern State Penitentiary from 4:00 to 9:00 pm. (Last entry 8:00 pm.) Programming, especially "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, is subject to availability. Free admission is first come, first served. Capacity is limited.
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 15, 2017, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
$10 online, $12 at the door. The Secret Cinema will project a prison-themed film, titled "City Without Men." The little-seen 1943 drama has the usual quota of prison action, yet differs in that it focuses not on the convicts, but on the difficulties faced by the women they left behind. This group of hard-bitten wives and girlfriends (and one mother) live together, uneasily, in a boarding home across the street from the state penitentiary -- to be closer to the men they love and desperately miss. The film, which stars Linda Darnell, includes a great cast of character players, most notably Edgar Buchanan (Uncle Joe on TV's "Petticoat Junction") and Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch in "The Wizard of Oz").The program will also include surprise short subjects. There will be one complete show, starting at 8:00 pm. Doors open at 7:00 pm; film begins at 8:00 pm. Seats are limited. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.
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
September 23, 2017, 12:00 pm – September 24, 2017, 4:00 pm
Standard Admission. Eastern State Penitentiary partners with New Leash on Life USA for Family Weekend: Pets in Prison. Families discover unique stories about prison animals all weekend long! Kids hear about Eastern State Penitentiary’s most famous four-legged resident, Pep the Dog; participate in an animal-themed scavenger hunt; and find out how animals continue to play a role in prisons today. At age 18, Norberto "Rob" Rosa was sentenced to 12 years in prison. A puppy training program there changed his life, and today Rob is the Director of Operations for New Leash on Life USA. Hear from Rob about his firsthand experience training dogs in prison, and about the work he's doing now to improve the lives of inmates and save the lives of dogs. Following the presentation, visitors to the historic site can meet some dogs from the New Leash on Life USA program and, if interested, can adopt any dogs that haven’t yet found homes. Family Weekend activities are available from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, included with admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.
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.
February 6, 2018, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Free. Reception to follow. Author Lauren-Brooke Eisen examines private prisons through the eyes of inmates, their families, correctional staff, policy makers, activists, ICE employees, undocumented immigrants, and the executives of America’s largest private-prison corporations. She is Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program where she focuses on improving the criminal justice process through legal reforms, specifically how the criminal justice system is funded. 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.