Archives in Action
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Every day 10 am to 5 pm (last entry 4 pm)
In honor of Archives Month, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site offers a SPECIAL MAP highlighting the use of mug shots, historic photographs and videos, and oral histories with former inmates and guards in its public programming. The map is included in the regular admission price – just ask for it when you purchase your ticket or download a copy to bring along.
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. While this results in ideal conditions for discussing the complex history of the building, it creates a less than ideal environment for the historic site to display its collection of irreplaceable photographs, prison documents, and inmate-made objects. Currently hundreds of artifacts rest neatly organized in drawers, locked safely away, but visitors can still see them in action through site signage, exhibits and the self-guided tour. These collections play a critical role in repopulating empty cellblocks for our visitors, helping them envision the building as a bustling prison community. This map will highlight areas where you can find Eastern State’s collection of photographs, video, and more than 100 oral history interviews with former guards, inmates, and staff members.
Highlighted stops include: video footage from inside the prison in 1929, women at Eastern State, Death Row, The William Portner Memorial Exhibit on Jewish Life at Eastern State and TowerCam! exhibits.
No reservations necessary. The map is included in the regular admission price – just ask for it when you purchase your ticket or download a copy to bring along.