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Welcome to the Texas Prison Museum

The Texas Prison Museum offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of the state's imprisoned citizens. The museum features numerous exhibits detailing the history of the Texas prison system, featuring a look inside the operations behind the fences and walls.

Admission:

 

Adults - $7;

Seniors 60+/Active or Retired Military/First

Responders/TDCJ Employees/

SHSU Students - $5;

 

Ages 6/17 - $4;

 

5 years and under - No Charge.

Contact Information:

 

936-295-2155

491 Hwy 75 N

Huntsville, TX 77320

David L. Stacks - Director

david.stacks@txprisonmuseum.org

Riley Tilley - Gift Shop Manager

riley.tilley@txprisonmuseum.org

Suzie Shaw - Office Manager

suzette.shaw@txprisonmuseum.org

 

Joni White - Curator

joni.white@txprisonmuseum.org

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Mission Statement

The Texas Prison Museum shall collect, preserve and showcase the history and the culture of the Texas prison system and educate the people of Texas and of the world.
 

Contact Us

If you've got questions, would like to place a gift shop order, or would simply like to know more about the Texas Prison System, we'd love to hear from you!

General Questions

David.stacks@txprisonmuseum.org

Conference Room Inquiries

Suzette.shaw@txprisonmuseum.org

Gift Shop Inquiries

Riley.tilley@txprisonmuseum.org

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facebook.com/txprisonmuseum

Popular Exhibits

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Capital Punishment
Exhibit

From the time of Independence from Mexico until 1924, hanging was the lawful method of execution in Texas. Hangings took place in the county where the condemned person was convicted.

 

In 1924 the State of Texas took control of all executions and prescribed electrocution as the method. One of the most chilling exhibits at the Texas Prison Museum is "Old Sparky," the decommissioned electric chair in which 361 prisoners were executed between 1924 and 1964. This legendary device, made by prison workers, was in storage at the Walls Unit Death House before being donated to the museum, and is our most controversial exhibit.

Old Sparky

Prison Hardware

Various types of hardware have been used to contain inmates. This exhibit shows the different types of equipment used over the years, including the old ball and chain, pad locks, and modern handcuffs.

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Ball & Chain

Prison Art

Contraband

Bonnie & Clyde

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Plan Your Visit

Whether you've got a quick 45 minutes to browse, or a few hours to soak in some history, we've got something for everyone!

HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday - Saturday

10 am - 5 pm

Sunday

12 noon - 5pm

 

PLEASE NOTICE:

First Monday of Each Month 

Open at 12 Noon - 5 pm

In observance of holidays, the Texas Prison Museum is closed

New Years's Day - January 1, 2023; Easter - April 9, 2023; Thanksgiving - November 23, 2023; two days during Christmas, December 25 & 26, 2023.

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End of Watch Memorial

Many Texas Department of Criminal Justice public servants have lost their lives in the line of duty and from the COVID-19 pandemic.  In honor of these fine men and women a remembrance memorial is slated for construction at the Texas Prison Museum.  The memorial will be a symbol of their unwavering service and ultimate sacrifice.  All donations are welcome and can be made here. 

 

If you have any questions, feel free to email our Director, David Stacks, at david.stacks@txprisonmusuem.org.

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Thank you for your donation!

This Week in Texas Prison History


Execution accounts are type transcriptions of actual newspaper articles that covered the inmate's execution. In order to maintain accurate historical context of the time period when the articles were written, the language used in them has not been changed.


September 27:    

 1953 - Huntsville Unit (Walls) - A Huntsville couple was startled Sunday to look up and see the state prison's parachuting convict sitting on the roof of their frame home.  "I missed it," Barney Thurman explained and pointed to the prison rodeo arena 300 yards away, "but I'll make it next Sunday."  Thurman, a World War II paratrooper serving three years on a forgery conviction from Gregg County, is a feature attraction of the annual prison rodeo opening next Sunday.  At the close of each performance, he is scheduled to parachute from a plane and land inside the arena - an enclosure about a block long and half a block wide.  Sunday was to be the test jump to gain final approval from the Civil Aeronautic Administration officials and from the prison staff.  "The shroud lines of my chute got twisted and I had lost too much altitude by the time I got them untangled," the trustee explained after prison guards borrowed a ladder and let him off the roof.   R. A. Rownsteen of Houston, CAA district supervisor, gave his permission for the jumps and said Thurman made a "wonderful" recovery from the twisted chute.  State prison system manager O. B. Ellis also gave his permission for the performances, adding that he had become "very interested" in Thurman and his efforts at rehabilitation.  Thurman is a veteran of about fifty jumps but had not jumped for about two years until another test jump last Sunday at the Huntsville airport.  "I'll hit that arena from now on, "Thurman promised.  "I got it figured now." (AP Dallas Morning News. September 28, 1953) 




 

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