The Historic Prison Tours offers public tours two Saturdays a month. This month, they’re taking place on June 8 and June 22.
June 8, 2013 (10 am-4 pm)
June 22, 2013 (10 am-4 pm)
Begin the tour in downtown Jackson at the Michigan Theatre with a brief tour of this historic site. Then, with surround sound and an HD screen, see and hear the fascinating history of Michigan’s First State Prison (1839-1934). Mixing film with live presentations by tour guides, you’ll experience intriguing tales of prison life, colorful inmates, wardens, night-keepers, punishments, and reforms. You will see solitary cells and underground tunnels as the old prison come to life. Journey into the present to what the former prison has become – Armory Arts Village. On screen, visit an artist in his studio, once a cellblock and see an apartment carved out of two floors of 36 cells.
Next: Board the bus to 7-Block (1934-2007), a fully intact, closed cellblock at the Jackson State Correctional Facilities. Here, Robert DeNiro filmed the movie “Stone.” Experience the “cage,” or holding area. Then walk down the ramp that took prisoners from the real world to the one behind bars. Eat lunch at tables where thousands of inmates have downed their prison chow. Step inside a cell. Walk the five tiers of galleries. Go onto the prison yard. Hear of famous/infamous convicts, officers, riots, reforms, and a one-and-only helicopter escape.
After “doing time,” board the bus to ART 634 on the site of the First State Prison. Once the famous Jackson Wagon Company, today ART 634 hosts The Old Prison Gift Shop and Gallery. Browse and buy souvenirs here, featuring art from the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP). This original art work is created by artists in Michigan correctional facilities, juvenile facilities, urban high schools, and communities across the state.
Seen on Film at the Historic Michigan Theatre
Experienced with Tour Guides on Live Prison Grounds
Tales of Famous/Infamous Inmates
Stories of Crime, Punishment & Reform
Lunch Served in 7-Block
Browse & Shop at the Old Prison Gift Shop & Gallery
Tour Begins at 124 N. Mechanic Street, Jackson, MI 49201, 3.5 miles south of I-94 (Cooper Street Exit 139)
RESERVATIONS NECESSARY: Call 517-817-8960.