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About Eastern State

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells held nearly 85,000 people over its long history, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and "Scarface" Al Capone.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

The penitentiary is currently open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. We are closed on the following holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; a Guide-Led Tour and Discussion; Unlocking History experiences; critically-acclaimed artist installations; and award-winning exhibits.

Who We Are
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. is a charitable nonprofit organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

What We Do (Our Mission)
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site interprets the legacy of American criminal justice reform, from the nation’s founding through to the present day, within the long-abandoned cellblocks of the nation’s most historic prison.
Adopted by the Board of Directors, June 2017

Why We Do It (Our Vision)
Eastern State Penitentiary’s innovative preservation, interpretation, and public programs will move visitors to engage in dialogue and deepen the national conversation about criminal justice.

What We've Achieved (Our Impact)
Learn more about our programs, supporters, and impact. Our 2023 Annual Report highlights major milestones we achieved during the 2023 calendar year and shares our goals for future organizational growth. 

Welcome to the Conversation!
We believe in the open-minded exchange of ideas across diverse beliefs, cultures and experiences. We believe that dialogue—including respectful disagreement—encourages personal growth and collective learning.

We reject expressions of hate or intolerance, and value the dignity of all people who enter this site.

How You Can Help
Become a Member or make a tax-deductible gift. Thank you for your support!

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner