"The Rock" is heading east.
Through mid-January a traveling exhibit on display in the Grand Hall at the Statue of Liberty National Monument's Ellis Island Museum of Immigration depicts the hard times prisoners faced at Alcatraz Island when it housed a high security federal prison.
Alcatraz: Life on the Rock marks the first time many historic artifacts from the infamous prison are being placed on public display. Created by Alcatraz Cruises in partnership with the National Park Service, the 2,800-square-foot modular exhibit features authentic artifacts and recreated areas of the prison.
Visitors enter the exhibit through a Civil War Sally Port to a touchable model of the island and can then explore four eras of the island’s history: Preserving the Rock, Strength: The Native American Occupation, Life on the Inside, and Military History.
Murals, video clips and memorabilia help bring to life other historical elements of the island, such as its role as a military prison, the Native American occupation of 1969–71, Alcatraz’s depiction in pop culture, and the island’s lush flora and fauna. Visitors can also get an inside look at the infamous federal prison, operated from 1934–1963.
“The demand to visit Alcatraz is nearly double the amount of visitors that the island can accommodate annually,” said Terry McRae, chief executive officer of Alcatraz Cruises and Hornblower Cruises & Events. “Through our partnership with the NPS, we can now bring this experience to visitors in other areas of the country who may not have the opportunity to visit Alcatraz, while telling the island’s rich history beyond just the prison era.”
Guests can visually experience life inside the prison by looking through a mock tunnel, similar to one dug by prisoners attempting escape, and by searching for Civil War-era etchings in a recreated prison wall. The exhibit features several rare, authentic artifacts, including an original letter written by Robert “Birdman” Stroud, a blood-smeared baseball from the Alcatraz exercise yard, a butter knife turned weapon and a cookbook that the Alcatraz Women’s Club sold to families on the island.
Admission to the exhibit, which runs through January 12th, is included with all Statue Cruises tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
To purchase tickets, visit www.statuecruises.com . Museums interested in booking the Alcatraz: Life on the Rock exhibit can learn more by calling Denise Rasmussen at (415) 438-8320.