Frequently Asked Questions from Visitors of Cell Block 7

Is the tour guided or self-guided?

The museum is a self-guided tour. There are maps of the museum provided, and lots of information to be found at each exhibit. The museum staff is always available to answer any questions there might be about the museum or the prison system.

 

Is there an age requirement to enter?

There is no age requirement to enter our museum. However, if you are under 18 you must have an adult accompanying you at all times.

 

How long does a visit to Cell Block 7 normally take?

Most visitors spend between an hour to an hour and a half touring the museum. Since it is a self guided tour, it all depends on how fast you’d like to go.

 

When can I schedule a group tour?

Group tours can be scheduled for any day of the week that works with the museum schedule. The museum’s winter hours (November 1 - February 28) are Friday - Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Summer hours (March 1 - October 31) are Wednesday - Sunday from 10am to 5pm. However, we can schedule larger groups on a day that we are normally closed if that is one of the days that works for you, and can be staffed by museum personnel.  Group tours are normally self-guided, however, the staff makes sure to be able to answer any questions there might be about the museum or prison system.

 

How can I schedule a group tour?

Call the museum at 517-745-6813 or email the Museum Coordinator at abbeyw@ellasharp.org at least two weeks before the date you’d like to schedule the tour for.

 

Is there a gift shop?
There is a gift shop that all guests are able to visit and purchase from at any point during their time at the museum.

 

Are photographs allowed?

Photographs are not allowed in the museum at any time. We request that all visitors leave their cellphones and cameras locked in their vehicles.

 

Does the museum accept credit card?

Yes, the museum accepts cash and credit card.

 

Is the museum handicapped accessible?

The museum is not ADA approved but visitors who might have a hard time getting around can have access to certain areas of the museum. There are some areas that will be impossible to see by visitors who are wheel chair bound as there is not an elevator in the building. All information from upper level exhibits is available in booklets on the ground floor for everyone to see and explore.

 

Are there inmates inside the museum? Do we get to see prisoners?

There are no inmates inside the museum. Cell Block 7 does sit on an operating prison, and inmates can often be seen in the prison yard, or performing an outdoor duty such as mowing the lawn. We ask that our visitors respect the privacy of inmates by not going anywhere near the fence surrounding the yard area. Cell Block 7 is a safe and secure facility to visit.

 

What should I wear to the museum?

Comfortable clothes and footwear. There are a lot of stairs in the museum that are open for visitors to explore. The museum is not air conditioned in the summer, and the upper levels can become quite warm in all seasons.

 

Can I become a volunteer?

YES! We are always looking for volunteers in any capacity. If you are interested please contact the museum 517.745.6813 or email the Museum Manager at bradc@ellasharp.org.

A rich history of criminals and guards

In 1912, a mass riot occurred that lasted for 6 days. The National Guard was called in to restore order.

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An escape worthy of an exhibit to itself

In 1975, an inmate escaped by helicopter. 

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As close as you want to be

Cell Block 7 is one of a small number of museums that opperate within active prison grounds.

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Films from prison

In 1952, 2,600 inmates participated in a riot that lasted 5 days. They held nine guards hostage at gunpoint. The incident inspired the 1954 film, Riot in Cell Block 11.

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Imagine what they were before

All the cells in the current prison were 10 ft. wide by 6 ft. long.

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It didn't take long

The first Michigan prison opened in 1839. In 1840 ten inmates made the first mass escape.

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World records set here

The State Prison of Southern Michigan was once the largest walled prison in the world.

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3455 Cooper Street
Jackson, MI 49201
Directions
Opening Hours We've locked the gates for today, but will open back up