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Hands-On History

These short tours take place throughout the penitentiary, each lasting from five to 20 minutes. An Eastern State educator engages visitors by leading an activity, exploring a special topic, or sharing a space not otherwise open to the public.

Hands-On History tours are included with admission, subject to availability.Red Cross on the head gate of the hospital cellblock

Visiting during the day? Current experiences include Soup Alley, Hospital, and Catholic Chaplain's Office. Our Hands-On History schedule changes daily. If you're interested in taking one or more of these short tours, ask any staff member for more information.

Visiting during Night Tours: Summer Twilight? We're offering a different experience every month. August's theme is "Creativity." Through September 4, enjoy special Hands-On History tour "Music Behind Prison Walls." Explore how people incarcerated at Eastern State expressed themselves through music and get a closer look at artist installation DLP Mirror, inspired by a musical composition written by a man named David Lee Powell while he was incarcerated on death row in Texas.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner