“Bleak glimpse at life behind bars”
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Montana Prison was built by inmate labor, this turn-of-the-century fortress was home to at least one member of Butch Cassidy's "Wild Bunch". Guided and self-guided tours lead you through the intimidating Cell House and into the chilling slide bar cells and black box of Maximum Security. See what it was like to live amongst the turreted stone towers and iron gates at the "Prison Life" photo exhibit, then view the galloping gallows. Stout iron bars slammed shut and locked for the first time on July 2, 1871. On that day, Montana's Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge incarcerated its first occupant. Guards no longer occupy the turrets set in each corner of the The Wall. The thud of heavy footsteps marching along the topmost barbed-wire- enclosed walkway is no longer heard. Emptied of prisoners in the late 1970s, the buildings stand now as silent sentinels to justice, a museum complex dedicated to law enforcement. Now open to the public for most of the year, this museum presents a chilling, bleak glimpse at life behind bars. A pamphlet distributed by the museum interprets each building and how it was used. Guideposts state the facts in a few brief sentences.
This was a great stop for us on our trip. A very informative tour (you can do self guided or with a person from the museum). It is chilling to walk through the cells especially the solitary confinement area. Not only did we do the prison tour but you have access to a great auto museum and western cowboy museum included in your entrance fee. We also visited a little shop across the street from the museum where they had all kinds of leather and items made from horse hair. All items in the store are made by current inmates in the MT correctional system. Well worth going into, the quality is top notch. There is also an ice cream stand you can grab a great treat for your continued roadtrip.
We really had a great time exploring! Unlike other old prisons, the tunnels and cool parts are actually open to the public! Definitely worth it if you have time.
Great place if you want to explore history
The whole family enjoyed this tour. Take the time; it's worth it. Admission also included several other small museums.
Our family really enjoyed exploring the prison and learning about its history.
I wished it were haunted...would've made it that much better. Otherwise - okay...self guided the way to go....
This was a great self guided tour of an old prison. Going into places and reading historic information that one might not see in other tours. Take the time you won't be sorry.
We loved the tour!! You can explore independently, but if Al (I think that's his name), a thin, tall older man with glasses and a hat is doing it, he'll tell you stories that are not a part of what you will read or see on your own....he was fantastic! He and his family were a big part of the history of the prison and had personal stories that blew us all away. I will say....if you bring kids on the tour he "tries" to keep it more PC, but his definition of keeping things PC is vastly different than most peoples. ;)
Your ticket gives you access to the car museum in the same building, a toy museum across the street and a few others......super worth the $$ and gave us an incredibly informative and intriguing afternoon!
Multiple museums for $10 fee.
The prison is creepy af. It's amazing. At one spot by solitary confinement, my phone battery dropped from 40% and died, came back on after I left the area. It was incredible.
We loved this stop! Super informative tour guide and so much of the prison is explorable. We also really loved the other museums included in the admission price (old toys, antique cars, & frontier / WWII). I highly recommend this stop to anyone who enjoys history.
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Old Prison Museum
- Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
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