Note: Idaho State Historical Society sites, including the Old Idaho Penitentiary, Franklin and Stricker Ranch Historic Sites, the Idaho State Museum, and the Research Center at the Idaho State Archives will be closed to the public beginning Friday, March 20, and all programming and events are currently canceled or postponed until further notice. Essential agency services, as mandated by state statute, will still be offered during the public closure.
This public closure will be in effect until April 6, 2020, unless extended.
Please visit history.idaho.gov/updates for regular updates, free online resources, and more information on services that will still be available during this time.
The Old Idaho Penitentiary opened its doors in 1872 to some of the West’s most desperate criminals. Today, visitors can experience over 100 years of Idaho’s unique prison history with a visit to Solitary Confinement, cell blocks, and the Gallows.
The site features thirty historic buildings and special exhibits including the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, a collection of historic weaponry. Events and programs provide families, school groups, and visitors an opportunity to relive the Old Pen’s exciting past of daring escapes, scandals and executions.
Photography Guidelines: Personal, single-camera use is allowed. We do not permit large backpacks, camera bags, tripods, lighting and shade covers, drones, clothing changes and other professional photography equipment on site during business hours. Any private photography (including senior or family portraits, video shoots, etc.) must be scheduled in advance. Please contact us at (208) 334-2844 for appointment options and fee schedules outside of our normal business hours.
Note: Idaho’s Merci Train is not currently on public display.