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

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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

First Monday of Month 

12 Noon - 5 pm

Sunday

12 pm - 5 pm

In observance of holidays, the Texas Prison Museum is closed on Easter,

Thanksgiving, two days during Christmas, and New Year's Day.

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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.

 

June 27:

1951 Huntsville Unit (Walls) - Morris Bessard, 21, was electrocuted early Wednesday, the third Negro to die for the criminal assault of a 16-year-old white girl at Houston. Bessard went to the death chamber at 12:02 a.m. He received the first shock at 12:05 and was pronounced dead at 12:06 a.m. He made no last statement, but as he was being strapped in the chair, he saw Night Warden M. V. Heath, smiled and said "good-by, Boss." The cheerful Houston Negro ordered a lavish last meal. The menu which Bessard called out seemed a bit unreasonable to prison officials. But they complied. Here is what Bessard ordered: Fried shrimp, fried chicken, tomato juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemonade, candy, cigarettes, cigars, chocolate cake, egg custard, beets, cantaloupe, lettuce, bananas, milk, celery, baked sweet potatoes, carrots, hot rolls and gravy, and

ginger bread. The two Negroes already executed for the assault were Eugene McFarland and Nathaniel Edwards. The white girl was attacked by three Negroes as she and a 20-year-old companion sat in a parked automobile near Houston May 13, 1949. The boy was struck in the head with a hammer. Bessard was arrested May 23, 1950 on a Pecos County ranch. He was convicted by a Harris County jury last October 12 and his sentence was affirmed March 28 by the State Court of Criminal Appeals. (AP, Houston Post, June 27, 1951)

June 28: 

1939 Huntsville Unit (Walls) - Governor W. Lee O'Daniel gives a 24 hour stay to the scheduled execution of Lee Walker to prevent his execution on the same night as the regular radio broadcast, "Thirty Minutes Behind The Walls", by WBAP radio station out of Ft. Worth. (SPL The Mexia Weekly. June 30, 1939)

June 29:   

1935 Wynne State Farm - Saturday night Manager Wright will give his annual watermelon feast at the Wynne Farm, The program will begin at 7:30 o'clock. Hundreds of delicious melons will be cut and served to the public at this time, and an invitation is extended to the public to be present as guests of Manager and Mrs. Wright. June 29 each year Manager Wright invites the public to come out to the Wynne Farm and enjoy some of the finest watermelons grown in Texas. (Huntsville Item, June 27, 1935)