Why Do We Need the
BECAUSE THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT.
What sets Sing Sing apart from other prison museums such as Alcatraz Island in San Francisco is that ours will sit adjacent to a working maximum-security penitentiary and include both a Museum and an institute for criminal justice.
BECAUSE SING SING IS ICONIC, WITH A HISTORY
OF SINGULAR NATIONAL IMPORTANCE.
Despite the clichés that accompany any icon, Sing Sing is not all gangsters and Old Sparky and James Cagney movies (though there’ll be all that, too). Sing Sing has come a long way since its early days at the “House of Fear,” where flogging was commonplace, corruption was rife and reform was hard-won. In fact, today it is considered the most progressive facility in the New York State prison system, promoting educational and arts programs and principles of tolerance and equity. According to The New York Times, “No other prison in the state is like Sing Sing.” Learn more..
BECAUSE THE STORY OF HOW WE TREAT EACH OTHER IS STILL BEING WRITTEN.
What better place to tell the story of crime and punishment in America? In a country where 1 in 100 people is incarcerated, what better space for a dialogue about this issue than next door to a leading laboratory of prison reform? In illuminating these issues, in telling these stories, the Sing Sing Prison Museum will tell us much about our national identity.
A Museum With a Conscience
Dr. Brent D. Glass
Director Emeritus, Smithsonian National Museum of American History and Senior Advisor to the Sing Sing Prison Museum Project
“Upon completion, the Sing Sing Prison Museum aspires to join the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a worldwide network of historic sites and museums that encourage awareness and empathy, promote civic engagement, and raise important questions about justice and injustice. By calling attention to the complex history of crime and punishment, this new museum will challenge visitors to think about issues that are both timeless and timely. In many ways, the history of Sing Sing is disturbing and dark; however, there are examples of progressive reform and, today, a culture of change that is transforming life within the prison walls.”
Putting Pieces Together
Michael Capra, Superintendent
Sing Sing Correctional Facility
“When the public thinks about Prison, they associate it with punishment. When I think about Prison, I associate it with structure, security, discipline, education, vocation and families. I spend many hours thinking about putting 1,700 broken pieces back together so when they leave this place they will be prepared to be productive, educated, confident, employed, crime-free people.”
Building With Story to Tell
Michael Devonshire, Director of Conservation,
Jan Hird Pokorny Associates
“The Powerhouse presents itself as a near-perfect building for adaptive reuse as an interpretive and education center . . . The soaring spaces, large light entry points and proximity to the cell block
make this an ideal center from which to view and interpret this site. This is an amazing wealth of building that you possess.”