Long gestating, the project to convert Ossining’s historic Sing Sing Correctional Facility into a bona fide museum has picked up steam in recent years. Already on our list of the county’s best museums, the forthcoming Sing Sing Prison Museum (SSPM) will officially open the doors of its Preview Center to the public in 2020.
Shooting for a late-in-the-year opening, the Preview Center will give residents and tourists alike their first real taste of the “Up the River” penitentiary museum and the facility’s 200-year history of the evolution of criminal justice in America, from torturous treatment and capital punishment to the modern for-profit prison industrial complex. The museum’s mission statement also includes challenging guests “to reimagine the criminal justice system and to take action to build a more just society.”
Housed just outside the prison walls, the Preview Center will occupy what was once the prison’s Powerhouse, supplying the electrical current that fed the facility’s cellblocks and, yes, its electric chair.
“There are so many compelling stories to tell about Sing Sing Prison and the criminal justice system, and we are eager to share them with the public through exhibitions and programs,” says newly appointed Interim Executive Director of the SSPM Brent Glass. “I look forward to working with our board of trustees and our partners in the state, county, and local governments to create the Preview Center.”
Just a 10-minute walk from Ossining’s Metro-North station, the Sing Sing Prison Museum is projecting an estimated 130,000 attendees annually once fully operational in 2025, the 200th anniversary of the penitentiary’s original 800-unit cellblock.
The focal point of our future facility will be the historic 1825 cell block seen here. Constructed by prisoners, it was the largest in the WORLD when it was built. Decommissioned in 1943, it later suffered fire damage and was stripped of its metal during WWII. What remains are the towering walls of “Sing Sing Marble” quarried from the very ground it still stands on. #TBT