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School Tours

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. Today, Eastern State is a modern ruin and museum that interprets the legacy of American criminal justice reform.

Our conversational guide-led tours, which can be tailored to your group, encourage critical thinking and leave students inspired to learn more about justice. Students will be challenged to reflect on Eastern State’s radical foundation, its change over time, and the racial, economic, and geographic impacts of mass incarceration.

Tours complement classroom lessons in American history, civics, philosophy, English, social studies, art and more. Eastern State is not recommended for children under the age of seven (7).

Your class may qualify for a bus scholarship. Click here for details.

Please Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are temporarily closed to the public. We plan to reopen in March 2021. We are still accepting school tour reservations for future dates and continue to offer virtual group tours.

Tour Options Available When We Reopen, Booking Now

We are accepting reservations for self-guided audio tours for spring 2021 and beyond with the understanding they can be cancelled by either party, at any time.

  • Self-Guided Audio Tours - When your group arrives, you'll each get an mp3 player and disposable earbuds that will guide you on a one-way path through the penitentiary. Groups must follow all new health and safety guidelines, including social distancing and use of face masks, and enter the site 6 visitors at a time within minutes of each other.
    • Available Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Last entry at 3:30 pm.
    • Discounted rates for groups of 15+
    • $11 - adults, $10 - seniors, $8 - students and kids (7-12). One complimentary pass per 15 paying visitors.

Tour Options Available Soon, Booking Now

We are accepting reservations for guide-led tours for June 2021 and beyond with the understanding they can be cancelled by either party, at any time.

  • Guide-led Group Tours – Unless otherwise specified, rates for groups of 15+ are $11 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for students and kids (7-12). One complimentary pass per 15 paying visitors. Groups of less than 15 can reserve a private, guide-led tour for a flat fee of $150.
    • Guide-led Tour and Discussion - This general interest tour highlights Eastern State’s 142-year history, revolutionary and influential architecture, and stories of people who lived and worked in the building while setting the stage for conversations about criminal justice reform today. Led by one of our educators. Available to groups of 15 to 150. 1 hour.
    • Defining Justice: Past and Present - What does justice mean to you? Through social and emotional inquiry-based learning, middle and high school students explore prisons past and present and the role they play in society in this interactive workshop. Led by one of our educators. Available to groups of 15 to 25. 90 minutes.
    • Guide-led Quick-Glance Tour - This 30-minute highlights tour is perfect for groups primarily coming to Eastern State to sketch or photograph the building, or for groups with limited time. Following your tour, the group is welcome to remain on site after their tour at no additional charge to photograph, sketch, or view the artist installations and history exhibits until the site closes at 5 pm. Available to groups of 15 to 150. 30 minutes.

Book Your School Group Tour
Please complete and submit this online form or contact Francine Schiffman, Manager of Group Sales and Guest Support at [email protected].

Other Opportunities

  • Virtual Group Tours - Eastern State Penitentiary’s award-winning tour program is now available at a flat rate to virtual classrooms everywhere! Learn more here.
  • College/University Partnerships - Are you a college professor interested in integrating Eastern State more deeply into your course in historic preservation, sociology, history, criminal justice, or another subject? We'll work with you to plan and present three 60-minute virtual sessions tailored to your classroom’s specific needs. Email us for more info.
  • Scout Days - We’re thrilled to invite scouts to participate in specially curated learning experiences. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) scouts will also meet merit badge requirements. Learn more.
2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner