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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15, 2024, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Online programming: Free. Register to attend via Zoom.
In-person programming: Free for children under 12; $17 admission for all other visitors. Purchase tickets here.

Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and contemplate the significance and ongoing relevance of his pivotal civil rights texts, including his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and famous "I Have a Dream" speech, during an all-day event at Eastern State Penitentiary. Other civil rights leaders impacted by incarceration, including George Jackson, Angela Y. Davis, Malcom X, and Ida B. Wells, will also be featured.

Readings & Discussions:
Listen as guest speakers read excerpts from "I Have a Dream," “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and other texts by Dr. King and civil rights movement leaders directly impacted by incarceration. Each passage centers around a specific theme and encourages reflection and group discussion. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served. Readings will take place every twenty minutes starting at 11:00 am.

Family Programming:
Enjoy programming designed with children and their caregivers in mind. Educators will host story times featuring children’s books written by and about civil rights movement leaders. Plus, continue learning with specially designed hands-on activities.

Other Activities:
Visitors are invited to write a postcard to someone currently incarcerated in a Pennsylvania prison. Materials are provided.

Please Note: Visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather. Some areas of the penitentiary are climate-controlled; however, some doors will remain open for visitor flow, and some parts of the site are exposed to the elements. 

Our Guide-Led Tour and Discussion on January 15 will include an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter from Hands UP Productions. This program includes both ASL and voice interpretation. Visitors from the D/deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing communities are welcome to attend. Learn more here.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner