Museums and attractions related to old prisons and jails around the world are almost certainly closed as of April 1, 2020, as the governments and organizations everywhere make an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.
Many attractions have information posted on their websites about closures. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control provides updated guidelines.
Facing the challenge
In addition to the health risk, organizations and businesses in communities near popular attractions are facing the economic challenge related to the closures and uncertainty about when it will be considered safe for people to travel again.
From tiny community jail museums to large former prisons operated by nonprofit organizations, efforts to meet the challenge are underway.
When social distancing allows, some volunteers and staff are using the downtime for extra cleaning and creation of new displays and exhibits.
If you have a favorite attraction, you may want to visit the organization’s website and see if there are opportunities to donate to help keep operations functioning.
Although actual travel must be postponed for now, a number of prison museums offer online resources that are entertaining — and will help you plan for future trips.
Among these are:
Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, San Francisco California
Angola Museum at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, Louisiana
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Missouri State Penitentiary, Jefferson, Missouri
Old Idaho State Penitentiary, Boise, Idaho
Old Montana Prison Museums, Deer Lodge, Montana
West Virginia Penitentiary, Moundsville, West Virginia
Yuma Territorial Prison, Yuma, Arizona