“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....
Thoroughly enjoyed our self-guided tour. The booklet is very well laid out and explanatory. This was fascinating to imagine life there when the prison was active.
The auto museum that goes with it is unbelievable with the number and quality of cars displayed there.
This is a “must-see” if you pass through here!
This was a great unexpected stop on our trip. Give yourself a couple of ours because there is a lot to see. The self guided tour was nice and informative. The history of the prison was interesting and reminded me a little bit like Alcatraz. Interesting to read some of the inmates history.
Amazing tour. We did the self tour and they said it would take about 40 minutes. We were there at 4:30 and suddenly it was almost close at 6pm! All of our kids had a blast and found it very interesting. Having lived in San Francisco and seeing alcatraz I found this one much more informative and a more complete tour. I felt like I got to see everything!
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.
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Old Prison Museum
- Sun - Sat: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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