I am a huge fan of true crime shows so visiting the Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge was a no-brainer. Build to resemble the edifice of the Alcatraz prison, the museum, which opened in December 2016, covers a history of crime from Medieval Times to the present. With two stories and almost 25,000 square feet of crime memorabilia, there are enough details to satisfy the most dedicated crime buff.
We were provided tickets to Alcatraz East Pigeon Forge, but all opinions are my own.
Inside Alcatraz East Crime Museum
Once you step inside the doors, you’ll be greeted by an “inmate” who sells tickets and can provide information on the museum. Then, it’s up the two flights of stairs to begin the tour. Alcatraz East is divided into five sections; the History of Crime, the Consequences of Crime, Crime Scene Investigation, Crime Fighting, and Pop Culture Counterfeit Crime. The museum also features special exhibits, which during our visit included Scamalot: Conquering the Con and Ivory, available until August 2018, and Tortoise Shell & Fur: The Ugly Truth About Wildlife Trafficking, available through Spring 2018.
At the top of the steps, the tour begins with The History of Crime, starting with displays of Medieval Torture Instruments. These people were not playing around when it came to gossiping, “scolding,” or thieving, as seen by the forceps they used to pull out the tongue or the hand ax used to cut off the hands of thieves. From the Middle Ages, the tour moves to America; covering gruesome events from the Colonization period, like the Salem Witch Trials and Piracy. The tour continues through the Wild West, Prohibition, and Organized Crime. And, if you’ve ever wondered about the makings of a Serial Killer, an entire section is devoted to notorious American Serial Killers, like Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and Richard Ramirez.
The Consequences of Crime focuses on life behind bars, complete with jail cells, rules and regulations, and my personal favorite, an explanation of the various tattoos found in prison. Tip: This is a good place to stop and have a photo made in a Police Lineup. Here we found more examples of punishment through the ages. If you’ve ever wanted to see a Guillotine like the ones used in the French Revolution Reign of Terror, this is your chance!
As a fan of reruns of Forensic Files, the Crime Scene Investigation section provided an up-close look at techniques used by Forensic Scientists. This section walked us through the entire crime scene, starting with how a crime scene would be photographed, and going into each step, such as using luminol. I was surprised to find that some forensic evidence is not as conclusive as the crime shows would like us to believe.
Crime Fighting describes the roles played in bringing criminals to justice, while Pop Culture Counterfeit Crime focuses on such problems as cyberbullying, identity theft, and other important topics prevalent in our society today.
A replica of Al Capone’s Jail Cell.
Thoughts: Overall I was impressed with the museum. I would like to return when I have more time to visit. Although I spent over two hours in the museum, I could have easily spent several more hours. The Museum includes a lot of reading to get the full experience. I definitely learned a lot. While there are several interactive exhibits throughout the museum, younger children might have a tendency to become bored if you plan to spend the amount of time needed to read all the exhibits. One quick note: This is a crime museum, not a museum solely dedicated to Alcatraz. I suggest going early in the day on a weekday, if possible, to avoid crowds around the exhibits.
If you go:
Where: 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge
When: The Crime Museum is open daily from 10 AM to 9 PM Sunday through Thursday and until 10 PM on Friday and Saturday.
General Admission is $24.95 for adults ages 13 to 60 and upgraded packages are available.
The museum offers discounts to law enforcement and the military if tickets are purchased at the door. Ages five and under are free.
Photography IS allowed without flash.
Have you visited the Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge? What was your impression?