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School Tours

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. Today, Eastern State is a modern ruin and museum that interprets the legacy of American criminal justice reform.

Our conversational guide-led tours, which can be tailored to your group, encourage critical thinking and leave students inspired to learn more about justice. Students will be challenged to reflect on Eastern State’s radical foundation, its change over time, and the racial, economic, and geographic impacts of mass incarceration.

Tours complement classroom lessons in American history, civics, philosophy, English, social studies, art and more. Eastern State is not recommended for children under the age of seven (7). Book your school tour today!

Self-Guided Tour Options

  • Daytime - Self-Guided Audio Tour - When your group arrives, you'll each get an mp3 player and headphones that will guide you through the penitentiary.
    • Available Wednesday - Monday, 10:15 am – 3:45 pm. The penitentiary is closed to visitors on Tuesdays.
    • Discounted rates for groups of 15+
    • $13 - adults, $12 - seniors, $10 - students. One complimentary pass per 15 paying visitors.

Guide-Led Tour Options
Reservations for guide-led group tours are subject to availability and current capacity. Please submit this online form or contact Francine Schiffman at [email protected] to learn more about our current offerings.

  • Guide-led Group Tours Available Wednesday - Monday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm.  The penitentiary is closed to visitors on Tuesdays. Unless otherwise specified, rates for groups of 15+ are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for students. One complimentary pass per 15 paying visitors. Groups of less than 15 can reserve a private, guide-led tour for a flat fee of $180.
    • Guide-led Tour and Discussion - This general interest tour highlights Eastern State’s 142-year history, revolutionary and influential architecture, and stories of people who lived and worked in the building while setting the stage for conversations about criminal justice reform today. Led by one of our educators. Available to groups of 15 to 150. 1 hour.
    • Guide-led Quick-Glance Tour - This 30-minute highlights tour is perfect for groups primarily coming to Eastern State to sketch or photograph the building, or for groups with limited time. Following your tour, the group is welcome to remain on site after their tour at no additional charge to photograph, sketch, or view the artist installations and history exhibits until the site closes at 5 pm. Available to groups of 15 to 150. 30 minutes
    • Defining Justice: Past and Present - What does justice mean to you? Through social and emotional inquiry-based learning, middle and high school students explore prisons past and present and the role they play in society in this interactive workshop. Led by one of our educators. Available to groups of 15 to 25. 90 minutes.

Other Opportunities

  • 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 all youth to participate in specially-curated and engaging learning experiences. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) scouts will also meet badge requirements. Learn more.

Book Your School Tour
Please complete and submit this online form or contact Francine Schiffman (Senior Manager, Group Sales and Events) at [email protected].

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner