The museum covers the history of the 1836 Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP). The museum includes a replica cell, with prison bars, a bunk, and a toilet to demonstrate what living conditions were like at the prison.
Visitors view displays that provide information on prison industries, contract labor, private industries, life inside the walls and control/counter-control. Also, the museum has a large number of photographs depicting the prison while it was in use. Several display cases are filled with artifacts and memorabilia.
The museum is located on the second floor of the Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau offices; however, on the west side of the building (Jefferson Street), there is a separate entrance to the museum, through which visitors can access the museum by stairs or elevator. An appointment is recommended for groups of 10 or more.
Missouri's prison was 100 years old when Alcatraz started housing federal prisoners. In 1967, the MSP was named the "bloodiest 47 acres in America" by Time Magazine. Before it closed in 2004, MSP was the oldest continually operating penitentiary west of the Mississippi River. For information on tours of the prison, click here: MSP Tours.