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Scout Days

Eastern State Penitentiary is thrilled to invite BSA and GSUSA scouts and all youth to participate in specially-curated — virtual and in-person — learning experiences. Led by our engaging staff, participants will enjoy interactive discussions and activities. BSA and GSUSA scouts will also satisfy badge requirements. 

Our most recent Scout Day took place in person on Saturday, November 12. We plan to host additional in-person events in the future, and our virtual program will return in late 2023. Please check back soon and email us at [email protected] if you'd like to receive Scout Day updates by email.

Scout Day: Architecture

Two people in an orange basket lift, wearing hard hats, in front of Eastern State's historic stone wall

Considered the world’s first true penitentiary, Eastern State’s architectural design served as a model for over 300 prisons across the globe. Now a National Historic Landmark and criminal justice museum, Eastern State staff carefully navigate decisions around conservation and preservation while interpreting the past and present of prison reform in the building’s historic cellblocks.

Participants will tour the penitentiary, engage in interactive activities and conversations, learn about Eastern State’s history and influence, and receive an introduction to the fields of architecture and historic preservation.

BSA scouts that participate will satisfy all requirements for the Architecture Merit Badge. Members of our staff are certified to serve as merit badge counselors through the BSA’s Cradle of Liberty Council.

GSUSA scouts that participate will satisfy all requirements for the STEM Career Exploration Badge and/or the Think Like an Engineer Badge.

Still have questions about Scout Days? Check out our FAQ below.

Our most recent Scout Day took place in person on Saturday, November 12. We plan to host additional in-person events in the future, and our virtual program will return in late 2023. Please check back soon and email us at [email protected] if you'd like to receive Scout Day updates by email.

Our most recent Scout Day took place in person on Saturday, November 12. We plan to host additional in-person events in the future, and our virtual program will return in late 2023. Please check back soon and email us at [email protected] if you'd like to receive Scout Day updates by email.


In-Person Scout Day passes are $17 for adults and $15 for scouts, students, and children. For groups of 15 or more, all tickets are $12 each. All passes must be purchased in advance online. (SOLD OUT!) Every person participating, chaperoning, or attending must purchase a Scout Day pass to enter the museum.

Yes! This program was designed for all youth and their caregivers in mind, while also giving BSA and GSUSA scouts the opportunity to satisfy badge requirements. All are welcome to attend Scout Day!

Scouts and youth of all ages are welcome at Scout Day but we encourage caregivers and troop leaders to consider the following:

  • Taking "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour is a requirement for earning a badge at Scout Day. We recommend the audio tour for ages 7 and up.
  • To earn their badges, scouts must complete an activity packet that encourages reflection on Eastern State’s history and architecture. Questions and challenges in the packet are open-ended in nature and are designed to be answered by children ages 8 and up with help from an adult.
  • Scout Day also includes three architecture-themed activity stations. We believe these activities are fun at any age, but they are primarily intended to engage scouts between the ages of 7-14.

You can plan on staying for about three hours. Timed entry windows begin at 11:30 am and end at 1:00 pm. The Scout Day program will conclude 4:00 pm, but you are welcome to stay until the penitentiary closes at 5:00 pm.

When you arrive at Eastern State, you’ll receive a packet of materials that includes questions, reflections, and activities to complete as you move throughout the day.

First, you'll take our self-guided "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour. An mp3 player and headphones will guide you through the penitentiary complex and give an overview of Eastern State's history. 

Next, you'll...

  • listen to three additional audio stops,
  • explore our exhibits The Big Graph and Prisons Today,
  • and engage with staff and volunteers at three different activity stations.
    • Activity Station 1: Prison Architecture Matching Game — This two-part matching game will introduce participants to five different prison designs and encourage them to examine the role architecture plays in our prison system.
    • Activity Station 2: Eastern State Rocks! — Eastern State Penitentiary is famous for its massive stone walls and towering cellblocks. In this hands-on activity, participants will learn about the geology of Eastern State’s most common building materials.
    • Activity Station 3: Eastern State Lego Contest — Eastern State’s radial plan influenced prison architecture around the world. Using a 37-piece Lego kit, participants will compete in a time trial to build a simple Eastern State replica.  

At the end of the day, participating BSA scouts should bring their packet to an Eastern State merit badge counselor who will approve the packet and provide a Blue Card, which scouts can turn in to their troop leader. GSUSA scouts should self-report their completed packet to their troop leader.

Our most recent Scout Day took place in person on Saturday, November 12. We plan to host additional in-person events in the future, and our virtual program will return in late 2023. Please check back soon and email us at [email protected] if you'd like to receive Scout Day updates by email.


Every person participating, chaperoning, or attending must purchase a Scout Day pass to enter the museum. All passes must be purchased in advance online. (SOLD OUT!)

In-Person Scout Day passes are $17 for adults and $15 for scouts, students, and children. For groups of 15 or more, all tickets are $12 each.

No! Scouts only need to complete the packet they receive upon arrival at Eastern State to qualify for their badge.

Once the packet is complete...

  • BSA scouts should bring their packet to an Eastern State merit badge counselor who will approve the packet and provide a Blue Card. Scouts must then give their completed Blue Card to their troop leader to receive their Architecture Merit Badge.
     
  • GSUSA scouts should self-report their completed packet to their troop leader to qualify for the STEM Career Exploration badge and/or the Think Like An Engineer Badge.

Yes! As long as scouts complete the packet they receive upon arrival at Eastern State, they will receive full credit for completing their respective badge.

Scout Day runs rain or shine.

Please dress for the weather and be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Sandals, flip-flops, open-toed shoes, and high heels are not permitted. Parts of the event take place inside; however, some areas are outdoors, and the penitentiary is not climate-controlled.

Scout Day tickets are valid for a specific date and time. All sales are final. The program runs rain or shine. There are no refunds or exchanges, including for unused or partially used tickets.

Our next Virtual Scout Day will take place in late 2023. Check back soon for more information.

Want to be the first to hear the news? Email [email protected] and request to be added to our Scout Day email list.

If you have additional questions, please email us at [email protected] for assistance. 

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner