This month, the New York Times profiled Art for Justice grantee Eastern State Penitentiary, a former prison that now serves as a haunting reminder of the inhumanity of mass incarceration. Originally built in 1829, Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary is now a museum that helps tell the story of how America’s prison system came to be what it is today.
“Sometimes you do need to shock people to attention,” said Marney Penn, a museum tour guide. “If you’re coming here for a historic tour, that’s great. But at the end of your tour, it’s like, surprise, we have all this really serious information for you.”
Eastern State’s mission is to actively interpret the history of America’s prison system and facilitate honest and thoughtful conversations about the rising number of people incarcerated in this country – especially people of color.