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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.


At this time, we regret we are only able to perform cash transactions due to electronic credit/debit unavailability. We apologize for this inconvenience.


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:



491 Hwy 75 N

Huntsville, TX 77320

David L. Stacks - Director

Riley Tilley - Gift Shop Manager

Suzie Shaw - Office Manager


Joni White - Curator

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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

Conference Room Inquiries

Gift Shop Inquiries

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Popular Exhibits

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Capital Punishment

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


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!


Monday - Saturday

10 am - 5 pm


12 noon - 5pm



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 and 24, 2023; two days during Christmas, December 25 & 26, 2023.


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


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.

December 7:    

 1982 - Huntsville Unit (Walls) - Charlie Brooks Jr. of Fort Worth became the first man in the United States to be executed by lethal injection this morning and the first in Texas to be executed since 1964. "Be strong," he said to his girlfriend, Banessa Sapp, just before he closed his eyes and died from the deadly dose of Sodium Thiopental, also known as Sodium Penthothal or truth serum. Wearing gold-colored unbelted pants, black fabric shoes and an unbuttoned khaki-colored shirt, Brooks spent most of his last few minutes looking at Sapp, the woman who exchanged "vows" with him last Wednesday. She and other witnesses showed no visible emotions as Brooks puckered his lips slightly, rolled his eyes, took deep breaths and quietly died. An intravenous needle delivered the drugs into Brooks right arm, the arm closest to the witnesses. He opened and closed his right hand several times after the injection began and died with his hand in a released fist. At 12:09 a.m. the injection was begun and at 12:16 Brooks was pronounced dead. At 12:01 the Texas Department of Corrections received word from the governor's office that no stay of execution had been ordered. When asked if he had any last comment to make, Brooks, who became a Muslim while in prison, recited what Islamic Chaplain Larry Sharif called "Remembrances of Allah" and the "greatest power on earth." "I love you," Brooks said to Sapp, looking over his right shoulder to address his girlfriend. "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah," he said. Verily unto Allah do we belong. Verily unto him do we return," Brooks said. He looked at Sapp with clenched right hand and told her, "Be strong." Sharif, who had been quoted earlier in the day as saying, "He feels if it goes through, then he will be in paradise," said to Brooks in the death house, "May Allah admit you to paradise." Brooks' bare stomach was visibly moving up and down, showing his last few deep breaths, as he lay strapped with five white leather straps on a hospital gurney. After those few deep breaths, Brooks lay still for several minutes while witnesses looked on. "Is the injection complete," Dr. Bascom Bentley, TDC's acting assistant director for health services, asked through one of the small windows leading from a separate room to the execution room. Dr. Ralph Gray, who formerly held the same title, looked into Brooks eyes, listened for a heart beat and said, "I pronounce this man dead," at 12:16 a.m. When witnesses entered the death house, an area that formerly was Texas' Death Row before its population outstripped its few cells, Brooks lay strapped to the gurney, with a needle hooked to two IV's served as a back-up, TDC Administrative Assistant Rick Hartley told the press after the execution. Prison Director Jim Estelle and D. V. McKaskle, assistant director for special services, were listed among the witnesses but not present in the room with Brooks where electrocutions were once carried out. The state does not reveal who actually injects the lethal dose of drugs in the next room. Witnesses never saw who was in the room where the injection of drugs was made into a tube that snaked through a window and went to the needle in Brooks' arm. The executioner has only been identified as a prison employee, and not a doctor. It was Warden Jack Pursley of the Huntsville "Walls" Unit who gave the go ahead for the injection. Pursley was one of six men standing inside an area set off from other witnesses handrails. Reporters representing the Associated Press, United Press International and Texas Monthly magazine and The Huntsville Item stood with Sapp, law enforcement personnel and other witnesses behind the handrail. Sapp, wearing a green flowered dress and a gold wedding ring on her left hand, was never allowed to touch her condemned boyfriend during the execution. She said just before entering the death chamber that "personal things, promises" that the two of them said during their "vows" had "helped me quite a bit." "He's prepared _____  ____
of  it," she said. Brooks was the first man in the United States to be executed with a lethal injection - a method that replaced electrocution in 1974 in Texas when a new state capital punishment statute went into effect. Texas executions were halted in June 1972 when the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment statutes were cruel and unusual punishment. The last person to be executed in Texas was Joseph Johnson, who was electrocuted with the state's electric chair, "Old Sparky," in 1964. Johnson had been convicted in the murder of a young boy. Brooks was convicted in 1977 of being one of two men who tied up David Gregory, a Fort Worth used-car lot employee, took him to a Fort Worth hotel room and shot him in the head. Woody Lourdes was convicted of the same murder but plea-bargained in a second trial and received a 40-year prison term. Neither man has ever said who pulled the trigger in that murder. Brooks was among 172 people sentenced to death in Texas. He was the first black and the sixth person killed since the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to be reinstituted in 1976. (Del Rio News-Herald, Dec. 7, 1982 Authored by Terry Scott Bertling, Huntsville Item Writer)



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