Museum of Colorado Prisons

Stop by The Museum of Colorado Prisons

Cañon City in southern Colorado is the home of the Museum of Colorado Prisons, a showcase of the atmosphere and exhibits of days, staff, and inmates gone by. A visit to the Royal Gorge Region isn’t complete without stopping and “doing time” in this historical cell house, the original Women’s Correctional Facility constructed in 1935. museum of colorado prisons behind bars

The Museum of Colorado Prisons Address: 201 1st St, Cañon City, CO 81212

Guided Tours at The Museum of Colorado Prisons

Take advantage of the museum’s ongoing assortment of guided tours. These include general admission guided tours, school trips, and paranormal tours for ghost hunters. Fundraisers, movies, and special events are also part of the calendar.

The Museum of Colorado Prisons’ Gift Shop

A visit to the museum would not be complete without a stop at the gift shop. The bookshelves include fascinating titles from the Old West about legendary murder tales, prison riots, “Wanted” posters, and more. Browse a collection of unique gifts, from prison-themed trinkets to original handcrafted wares.

History of The Museum of Colorado Prisons

The museum opened on June 18th, 1988, and has been toured by more than 200,000 guests since then. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the historical heritage of the Colorado Prison System. Through exhibitions and scholarly research, it encourages awareness and education about prisons and serves as a reminder that crime has consequences.

The Creation of the Museum

In the early 1980s, the project began with volunteers who sought to use the former Women’s Prison building (constructed in 1935) as the Museum of Colorado Prisons. On April 24, 1986, the Colorado State Legislature granted the foundation a 99-year lease of the building for that use.

Museum Exhibits

Exhibits at the museum cover 140 years, depicting life from the early Territorial Prison days. The cell house has two floors. The upper floor has 30 inmate cells, office space, and a gift shop. Each cell on the upper level tells a story of life behind bars. These cells depict the stories of working and living conditions, punishments, and assorted other topics of the inmates. The lower floor houses the dining room, archival storage, a general-purpose room, the original kitchen, isolation cells, a Federal Prison Display, and a laundry area. The artifacts and exhibits depict how inmates and guards lived and worked in the Colorado Prisons.

by Kathleen Fitzsimmons

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