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“Interesting Museum”

Texas Prison Museum
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Huntsville
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Learn about the Texas prison system including an exhibit of the electric chair dubbed "Old Sparky".
Level Contributor
103 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Interesting Museum”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2012

Went there for an hour or so the other day. Partner works for the TDCJ system so it was informational in all ways. The priginal 'Old Sparky' electric chair is on display. history and stories of criminals that were big names intheir das are all over the place. Items made by inmates from clothes to beds and chests and ships are on display. If you have any interst in the prison system, or of history like Bonnie & Clyde and other notorious criminals, this place will introgue you. I took lots of photos and learned alot. Worth the small asdmission fee to see this exhibit.

Visited October 2012
Thank TheCrazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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177 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
241 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“Informative and factual without the sensationalism”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2012

I went to visit the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, Texas with some friends in my motorcycle club. We got a group member discount, so we ended up paying only two dollars per person (the regular price for admission is a bargain at four dollars per person with discounts for military and senior citizens).

The museum is small but very well done. There is a short (7 minutes) video that you can watch when you come in if you so desire. I learned quite a lot in that seven minutes. The most haunting part of the visit for me was the black and white photographs of the victims and family members of the victims or the condemned with portions from the last statements of some of the death row inmates. The death of the convicted doesn't seem to offer any peace for those left behind.

There is information, artifacts, and pictures of different times and people of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. "Old Sparky" is on exhibit as well, and it is a somber experience to see it so displayed. One of the prison units is across the highway from the museum, which really puts the visit into perspective.

I highly recommend a visit but would leave the kids at home.

There is a gift shop where you can buy magnets, t-shirts, key chains, books, and some leather items (purses and wallets) crafted by the prisoners. The prices are reasonable and the staff is very friendly.

Visited October 2012
Thank Jill G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beeville, Texas
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Tears Of Fear”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2012 via mobile

I stopped in the other day on my way back from Dallas and had a Reality check it's the real thing ( lol ) that probable sounds like a Daaaaa!!!!!! But when your their and see the faces along with the story's of some time bad decision some time just evil people the state put away for good it brings the evening News to Heart

Thank Beachbum2112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somerville, Massachusetts
2 reviews
“Educational, powerful, and actually fun.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2012

This is a museum which is home to a device which sent 361 people to their deaths. The potential for a grotesque glorification of the death penalty had me a little nervous before I went. I wanted to see the museum for what it contained but I was just as interested in seeing how it displayed what it contained.

I found a museum that seemed to stay away from the politics of the death penalty and America's prison culture while matter-of-factly presenting some of the history of Texas prisons.

I learned a lot from the placards posted with various items and displays. I was overwhelmed by all the information sometimes. There is a lot of information crammed into a small space and I couldn't figure out how it was organized. Were things displayed chronologically? By theme? Chronologically by theme? It was confusing and I felt a little like a pinball, bouncing around and trying to hit everything.

There was a great deal of artwork created by prisoners on display. Some of it was very old. I was disappointed that none of the artists were credited. Maybe there are good reasons for that but none were provided. I would have liked to know more about those artists or about how art is created in Texas prisons. And if artists cannot be credited, how about a sign that explains why not? I did feel like some of the other exhibits lacked obviously important information. For example, I was fascinated by the prison rodeo exhibit. I saw a lot of information and many objects. The exhibit noted the years that the prison rodeo took place but it didn't explain why the rodeo stopped. That seems important and I really wanted to know.

When I was there in August 2012, there was an exhibit of photography. The photographs were large portraits of family members of murder victims and of their convicted killers who'd been executed. The portraits were accompanied by quotes from the family members and from the convicted killers. The quotes often expressed an ambivalence about execution that I found haunting.The effect of putting the pictures and quotes of all these people next to each other was powerful. In a museum full of artifacts like chains and shanks and artwork from nameless prisoners, this exhibit offered much appreciated soft, human touch.

There was a little gift shop area which I didn't examine closely. They did have postcards - one with Old Sparky, the electric chair, and one showing the history of the methods of execution in Texas prisons.

Despite the flaws I've noted, this place is very interesting. Well worth visiting and highly recommended for those interested in prisons, history, folk art, and the death penalty. I went with a group of family members and we all enjoyed it.

Visited August 2012
Thank CharliHenley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Great for the curious”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2012

As a native Texas I have always heard of the extensive penal system in the Lone Star State. upon moving to Houston I passed by the Texas Prison Museum on the highway. So I stopped in to see what the place had to offer. Several displays offering historical facts and relics offered insights that broadened my knowledge and understanding of what inmates as well as gaurds experience on the inside. A mock cell was set up for patrons to inspect, and believe me it was tiny! Another part of the museum offered a thought provocing examination of capital punishment. I must say that I was thuroughly impressed with the Texas Prison Museum.

Visited September 2011
Thank Sam779
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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