Visit the Old Idaho Penitentiary

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.

General Admission is available Online or at the Door.

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.

Call to Artists: Prison Riots Exhibit
The Old Idaho Penitentiary seeks to tell the story of the sites 101-year history in unique ways to engage diverse audiences. The selected artist will receive $3,000 to create 10 graphic novel panels, working with site staff to depict the story of historically accurate riots and disturbances in the prison’s past. The exhibit will be located inside the historic Barber Shop and replace the former “Marked Men” Tattoo Exhibit. There were 7 major riots and disturbances in the penitentiary’s history: in 1910, 1935, 1952, 1958, 1966, 1971, 1973. From a food fight to guard hostages to burning down buildings, each riot tells a unique story about the penitentiary. Interested in applying for this opportunity? Check out the application here or email amber.beierle@ishs.idaho.gov for more information.

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.