Our Popular Exhibits
Unique Audio Exhibit
An interesting look back at the Texas Death Row at the Ellis Unit in 1979 as told by Bruce Jackson
and Diane Christian. They were allowed daily access to the death row inmates and recorded, both
in picture and audio, this piece of history. The exhibit offers a excerpt from an NPR interview
with Bruce and Diane about their experience and recent book, In This Timeless Time.
Capital Punishment Exhibit
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.
In 1964 executions were stopped while the U.S. Supreme Court decided on the fate of execution practices. Executions resumed in 1982 with lethal injection replacing electrocutions as the means of carrying out the death penalty.
Prison Contraband Exhibit
"Contraband" is any item that represents a serious threat to the security and safety of the institution. This exhibit shows the craftiness and creativeness of inmates who manufacture weapons from materials found within the prison units. The two examples below are from the display.
For recreation many inmates utilize their artistic capabilities. Some inmates turn out beautiful drawings, paintings, models, and sculptures. This exhibit highlights various types of art projects created by Texas inmates.
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.
The work by premier photographer Barbara Sloan. Last Statement is a compassionate look at the victim’s of both sides left behind following an execution. Last Statement is now a book available exclusively in our gift shop.