Groups can now virtually partake in Eastern State Penitentiary’s award-winning guided tour program! These live, interactive, discussion-based experiences are perfect for all groups who want a remote, private, and unique experience. Facilitated by an engaging historic site educator, groups can choose from the following programs.
For Virtual Classrooms/Learning Pods:
- Defining Justice: Past and Present (Available for 4th grade to 12th grade) What does justice mean to you? Through social and emotional inquiry-based learning, elementary through high school students explore prisons past and present and the role they play in society in this interactive virtual workshop. One hour. Pricing below.
- Virtual Excursions (Available for 4th grade to 12th grade) Delve deeper into the rich history and contemporary relevance of Eastern State by exploring a specific topic. These experiences include 30 minutes of guided instruction followed by a 15-minute hands-on activity using supplies you can easily find at home. Current topics include Eastern State Penitentiary 101, Music, and Food. Click here for more details. 45 minutes. Pricing below.
Our staff is highly-flexible and can respond to many learning objectives upon request.
For Any Virtual Group:
- Eastern State Penitentiary and Prisons Today (Available for 4th grade to adults) Eastern State’s history matters today more than ever. This in-depth virtual group tour explores the history of Eastern State and the experiences of men, women and children who lived and worked behind its walls. This program sets the stage for conversations about criminal justice reform today. One hour. Pricing below.
- Organized Crime: Prohibition Era (Available for 4th grade to adults) Embark on an in-depth virtual exploration of vice, scandal and the struggles Eastern State faced in the early 20th century. This guided program includes a brief overview of Eastern State’s founding principles, highlights organized crime figures who spent time at Eastern State, including “Scarface” Al Capone, and ends with group discussion. One hour. Pricing below.
- Prison Architecture Then and Now (Available for 4th grade to adults) Eastern State Penitentiary’s architectural influence can be seen in the 300 prisons around the world that copy its groundbreaking radial design. Learn about Eastern State’s original system of solitary confinement and an ethical debate among architects today. Your group will consider essential questions like: Is it possible to design a humane prison? Should architects design spaces for punishment, solitary confinement or execution? What is the future of prison architecture? One hour. Pricing below.
- Why not us? Why not now? Take action. (Available for 4th grade to adults) More than ever people want to learn more about justice, equity and mass incarceration. Join Eastern State educators and staff from PAR-Recycle Works for an interactive workshop that explores pathways to criminal justice reform past and present, builds connection, and inspires action. One hour. $200 for any group, up to 50 participants.
Details & Pricing
- Group size: up to 50 attendees
- Availability: Monday - Thursday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (Early mornings and evenings available for an additional fee.)
- Age: 4th grade to adults
- Online platform: Zoom
- Fee (unless otherwise indicated):
- $150, school and youth groups
- $200, college and adult groups
- +$75, additional sessions
- Free for Philadelphia Public and Charter Schools*
* Additional schools may qualify for free virtual group tours.
Eastern State Penitentiary is committed to offering virtual programs that are financially accessible. Please ask for details when you make a reservation.
- Self-Guided Audio Tour + Distance Learning Session - Pair a self-guided, in-person tour of Eastern State with a 30-minute virtual session with one of our engaging educators. Learn more.
- 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.
An engaging educator will host your virtual visit from their computer with a slideshow that incorporates photos, videos, and audio clips of Eastern State Penitentiary. You can view a similar example of this programming here on our Facebook page.
Virtual group tours are discussion-based workshops. Group attendees are encouraged to participate by using the chat feature to ask questions and respond to discussion prompts. Please inform Eastern State Penitentiary if your group is unable to use the chat feature at least 24 hours before the beginning of your tour.
Virtual tours are great for a variety of groups including schools, universities, learning pods, clubs, organizations or friends and families. Corporate groups enjoy these as a team bonding experience. For schools considering a virtual group tour, our programs complement classroom lessons in American History, Civics, Philosophy, English, Social Studies, and more.
Eastern State Penitentiary conducts virtual tours using our password protected Zoom room. If your school uses another platform like Google Meet, we will do our best accommodate your preferred platform.
Our virtual group tours are 60 minutes long with the exception of Virtual Excursions, which are 45 minutes long. The group leader must login to the online platform fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time. This time is an opportunity to connect with the Eastern State educator before the program begins, ensure that technology is working well, and share more about your group.
Virtual tours are available from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday. A minimum of two weeks notice is required to book. Please schedule early for best availability. Virtual tours may be scheduled before 10:00 am and after 5:00 pm; however, there is a surcharge for these tours, and they are subject to availability.
Yes! Virtual group tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
The maximum number of people we can accommodate at one time is 50. Additional sessions are available at a discounted rate.
Payment must be arranged in advance of your visit. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and checks. Eastern State Penitentiary is committed to offering virtual programs that are financially accessible. Please contact us to discuss the details of your group’s payment.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc.’s taxpayer identification number is 31-1627155. A copy of our Form W-9 is also available for download.
There must be at least one chaperone present at all times with the camera turned on. This chaperone should begin the virtual tour by greeting students. The online platform should be used for Eastern State Penitentiary content only. Please end other instruction fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time of the virtual tour.
Eastern State Penitentiary permits the recording of virtual tours but must be notified 24 hours in advance. If no advanced notice is given, recording will not be permitted. Recordings are for personal use only and may not be posted publicly online or on social media.
Yes. The online museum store carries a unique array of items, including a wide variety of books, clothing, mugs, magnets, toys and other items.