Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Thu August 18 2016

Prison Museums Are Becoming More Popular

Features & Advice | Janeen Christoff | August 18, 2016

Prison Museums Are Becoming More Popular

 PHOTO: John Dillinger's death mask. (courtesy Alcatraz East)

A sign that “dark tourism” is really taking hold: Prison museums are proliferating around the U.S.

In fact, now, when you visit Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to take in Dollywood, the Hollywood Wax Museum and the Titanic Museum, the family will also be able to tour Alcatraz East — a new crime museum that will be home to OJ’s white Ford Bronco, Al Capone’s rosary and John Dillinger’s death mask. It will also have a prison-like facade, reports

“Since the 1990s, as the U.S. prison population exploded, new, bigger prisons were built –and states looked for a way to repurpose older ones,” writes Erik Sherman. 

According to Fortune, “many old prisons were converted into museums or recreational sites catering to tourists. Twenty-nine states have an average of at least two prison museums each, according to Fortune’s review of multiple compilation listings — they’re run by either governments or non-profits. Some old prisons have seen new life as hotels and ‘haunted houses.’”

READ MORE: 4 Underrated Things to Do in Ocean City, Maryland   

Other popular prison museums are Alcatraz and Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penetentiary. Boston’s old Charles Street Jail is now the Liberty Hotel and is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection. 

Get to know America’s best prison museums here

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