Last updated: 6/10/2011
Huntsville, Texas
Street Address
491 Hwy 75N
Huntsville, TX 77320
Mailing Address
491 Hwy 75N
Huntsville, TX 77320
phone: 936-295-2155
e-mail: jimwillett@mac.com
web: www.txprisonmuseum.org
Admissions
$4 adult / $3 senior & TX prison employees / $2 under 18 / free under 7
Museum Type(s)
Staff
James Willett, Director
phone: 936-295-2155
Description

The Texas Prison Museum is home to the history of the Texas prison system. Old Sparky, the Texas electric chair, is the most famous exhibit. However, visitors soon find that inmate made arts and crafts draw their attention. Visitors find that one of the more fascinating displays is that of inmate (illegally) made knives and other weapons. Displays covering the history of the famous Texas Prison Rodeo, the weapons guards have used, some now illegal, the history of the death penalty, and a look at some of Texas' infamous inmates are some of the more popular exhibits. Most patrons also step inside our life size replica cell. A patron can even have their picture made in the cell while dressed in an authentic inmate striped shirt. We are constantly getting more interesting artifacts to add to our already impressive inventory. We are constantly improving our library of books, magazines, recorded interviews, and videos for research into the history of the world's most famous prison system. We currently have a short video that describes life inside the Texas prison system and we plan to someday add more audio and video to the museum experience. Come see the past and get educated about our prison system.

History

The Texas Prison Museum was founded in the late 1980's by a group of Texas Department of Corrections employees who wanted a place to preserve and showcase prison artifacts. The museum for many years was run on a shoestring budget and was staffed entirely by volunteers. In 1998, the Board of Trustees began raising funds for a new facility, in which over 1 million dollars was raised. Building construction began in September of 2000 and is scheduled for completion in June 2002. The interior and the exhibits should be completed in Fall 2002. The Museum currently has 1 full-time and 3 part-time paid employees and maintains a small corps of volunteers.

Artifact Collections

farm equipment, restraint equipment, including the "bat", once used to whip inmates; officer uniforms; guns and weapons used by guards; equipment related to and used in the Texas Prison Rodeos; photo and ID equipment; the electric chair and other execution paraphernalia; items related to the dining areas, commissary, churches, and sports; crafts by inmates including intricate items made by death row inmates; inmate uniforms;home made devices used in escapes; illegal weapons made by inmates; guns, helmets, radios, etc. from the "Carrasco" hostage situation; extensive photo collection

Educational Programs

A video about the prison system of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is shown many times daily. It is always shown for viewing by all juvenile probation departments or detention centers whose young people visit our facility. We generally do not charge admittance for these organizations. We have a retired prison warden on staff, who along with other retired prison staff is present to give live lectures/discussions about various facets of the prison system.

Publications

Quarterly Newsletter

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MUSEUM CONFERENCES
Saturday, March 5 - Tuesday, March 8, 2022 — Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Association of Museums Annual Conference 2022
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Sunday, March 6 - Thursday, March 10, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
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Wednesday, March 16 - Friday, March 18, 2022 — Kingsport, Tennessee
Tennessee Association of Museums 2022 Annual Conference
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Tuesday, March 22 - Friday, March 25, 2022 — Waco, Texas
Texas Association of Museums 2022 - Growing Together: Tackling The Challenges Of Today & Tomorrow
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Thursday, April 7 - Saturday, April 9, 2022 — Point Pleasant, West Virginia
West Virginia Association of Museums 2022 Conference
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PA Museums’ 2022 Conference
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Center of Excellence Tick Workshop 2022
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Monday, May 16 - Wednesday, May 18, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
InterActivity 2022: Play The Long Game -Association of Children's Museums
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Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22, 2022 — Slinger, Wisconsin
2022 Fire Museum Seminar
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ALHFAM 2022 CONFERENCE & ANNUAL MEETING
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ASSOCIATION OF NATURE CENTER ADMINISTRATORS 2022 ANNUAL SUMMIT
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Wednesday, September 14 - Saturday, September 17, 2022 — Buffalo, New York
American Association for State and Local History 2022 On-site and Virual Conferences
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