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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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  • Audio Group Activity Guide

    This guide will encourage your group to reflect and discuss before, during, and after taking "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour. We recommend printing copies and bringing them with you for your visit.

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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