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Pop-Up Museum: Industry, Innovation, & Incarceration

December 23, 2023 – January 3, 2024

Pop-Up Museum: Industry, Innovation, & Incarceration

Included with admission.

For a limited time only, Eastern State presents Pop-Up Museum: Industry, Innovation, & Incarceration. This year's Pop-Up Museum focuses on items created and jobs performed by incarcerated individuals during their time at Eastern State Penitentiary. Featured artifacts will include multiple examples of the ingenuity of incarcerated people in creating art, crafts, poetry, and patented inventions. Also featured in the exhibit will be items made in prisons today and video commentary on the artifacts provided by members of the Lived Experience Activating Dialogue (LEAD) Fellowship, which supports people coming home from prison and exposes them to career opportunities in the museum field.

The archives of Eastern State Penitentiary are packed with historic treasures that the public rarely sees. Thousands of artifacts are numbered and tucked carefully into museum-grade storage in the site’s administrative offices. Visitors often see photographs of these treasures, but the building’s lack of museum-quality climate control makes it impossible to exhibit the artifacts year-round. 

Please Note: The historic site will be closed to the public on December 24, December 25, January 1, and January 2.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner