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Lesson Plans

Eastern State Penitentiary was in use for 142 years (1829-1971), making it a great place to study many topics in American History. Teachers who plan to visit Eastern State might find these tools useful to prepare for, or to wrap up, a field trip. For those who are unable to visit, we hope these lesson plans will provide an interesting look into our history.


  • Lesson Plan 1

    1820 - 1900
    This lesson is one of two in a series bringing relevant stories of the penitentiary into the classroom.

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  • Lesson Plan 2

    1890 - 1930
    This is the second lesson in a series of two bringing relevant stories of the penitentiary into the classroom.

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  • Living at Eastern State Penitentiary

    This lesson is designed to connect Gennifer Choldenko's book Al Capone Does My Shirts to Eastern State's history.

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  • Post-Visit Activities

    These shorter post-visit activities will help to wrap up your trip to ESP.

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2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner