Skip to main content

Purchase Tickets

Memorial Day Weekend 2024

May 24, 2024, 10:00 am – May 27, 2024, 5:00 pm

Memorial Day Weekend 2024

Spend your Memorial Day at a unique American landmark! 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of public tours at Eastern State Penitentiary. Join us May 24-27 as we commemorate this occasion and reflect on the importance of military service during Eastern State’s operational years.

This Memorial Day Weekend, immerse yourself in Eastern State Penitentiary's rich history and ongoing legacy. Whether you're a history buff, preservation enthusiast, or looking for a meaningful way to honor those who served and sacrificed, Eastern State offers a unique blend of education and remembrance.

Join us as we pay tribute to our past and look forward to the future of Eastern State Penitentiary.

All activities are included with admission.

People gather on the baseball field at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site.

Memorial Day Weekend Highlights:

Commemorative Tours: When Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site opened to the public in 1994, visitors were required to wear hard hats while exploring the fragile site. Walk in their footsteps this Memorial Day Weekend as you explore areas usually closed to the public, including Cellblock 14. Learn how this landmark has evolved from the world's first penitentiary to a cornerstone of criminal justice education.

Friday, May 24: 12 pm
Saturday, May 25: 11 am
Sunday, May 26: 11 am
Monday, May 27: 12 pm

Included with the public guide-led tour and discussion. Space is limited. Guide-led tour ticket required.

Panel Discussion: A Memorial to Preserve: Learn how the Eastern State Task Force saved the penitentiary from the wrecking ball in the 1980s with three members of the original Task Force: our CEO Emeritus Sally Elk and early historic site tour guides David Brownlee and Ann Brownlee. The discussion will include unique photos and stories from the site’s abandonment to today. Moderated by ESPHS President and CEO, Dr. Kerry Sautner.

Saturday, May 25, 12 pm

Panel Discussion: Preserving Eastern State Today: Engage with the staff helming Eastern State’s current preservation efforts and visions for the future, including the innovative Preservation Trades Center. Featuring Liz Trumbull, Director of Preservation, Facilities, and Trade Programs, Jessica Senker, AIA, Principal at J&M Preservation Studio, and Sara Gdula, Architectural Conservator, Heritage Conservation Collective. Moderated by ESPHS Visitor Services Lead Sam Hone.

Sunday, May 26, 12 pm

Panel Discussion: Collections Conversation: Hear from the team who cares for the historic site’s collection, from the building itself to the hundreds of artifacts that tell the stories of the people who lived and worked at Eastern State. Featuring Erica Harman, Manager, Archives and Records and Lance Kniskern, Preservation Project Coordinator. Moderated by Damon McCool, Senior Manager, Program Development.

Monday, May 27, 11:30 am

War Effort Pop-Up Talks:

Eastern State Penitentiary opened its doors in 1829 and shuttered in 1971. This means that people lived and worked in the penitentiary during the Civil War and both World Wars. How did these conflicts impact daily life at Eastern State? Meet at the commemorative WWI plaque in the penitentiary’s central hub to learn that and more.

Friday through Monday, select times

Tour the penitentiary’s Hospital Wing and learn about the prison's historical blood drives and other contributions during times of war.

Friday through Monday, select times

Decoration Day Art Project: This Memorial Day, join us in creating an art project honoring the prisoners and staff of Eastern State who served in the U.S. Military. This activity is fit for all ages.

Friday through Monday, 10 am – 5 pm

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner