The drafty ruin that is Eastern State Penitentiary today — once the most famous and expensive prison in the world — is not the ideal place to display fragile, climate-sensitive historic artifacts. But for the second year in a row the prison-cum-museum is finding a way to do it anyway. The catch is the handmade weapons (i.e., shanks), photographs, and inmate-written magazines will only be on display for 11 days.
Kicking off the penitentiary’s 2014 tour season, the Sin and Salvation pop-up museum will be open April 12-22. The shanks, of course, fall into the “sin” category, along with wanted posters and “agitator cards” featuring inmates who broke rules; the “salvation” half is illustrated with items such as an ornate chalice and a prison chaplain’s suitcase.
Entrance to the exhibit is included with Eastern State Penitentiary admission ($10-$14).
Eastern State Penitentiary
22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue
Open seven days a week