• Dawn Sabato

Alcatraz East Crime Museum Announces Reopening after COVID-19 Closure


Alcatraz East Crime Museum, located in Pigeon Forge, will reopen on May 15, 2020 with new safety measures in place

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (May 13, 2020) – Alcatraz East Crime Museum will be reopening, following the COVID-19 closure, on May 15, 2020. The museum, located at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is taking new safety measures to help keep visitors safe and healthy. To help “police” these new safety rules, the museum is introducing their mascot, “Doc” (law enforcement abbreviation for Department of Corrections). Guests will see various signage and friendly safety reminders from Doc throughout the museum.

“We are taking COVID-19 measures seriously and making numerous changes throughout the museum to help ensure the safety of our visitors,” explains Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer at Alcatraz East Crime Museum. “We are thrilled to reopen and look forward to seeing both locals and tourists.”

The museum surveyed its fans to get an idea of when they planned to visit and what some of their expectations would be upon reopening. Most responses aligned with government expectations.

When asked: “Once the museum is allowed to reopen, how quickly do you plan to visit?”

            59% said ASAP

            38% said This Summer

            3% said This Fall

            0% said Indefinitely

When asked: “What would prohibit your visit?”

            The most common answers were “Nothing; Being too crowded; Please don’t make me wear a mask.”

When asked: “What could the museum do to make you feel comfortable”

            The most common answers were “Additional cleaning and spatial distancing.”

Museum changes will include reduced hours and capacity, heightening cleaning efforts, spatial distancing protocols, employee health screening and employee PPE. Guests are encouraged to review all safety rules prior to their visit on the museum web page devoted to COVID-19: https://www.alcatrazeast.com/covid-19/.

While visiting the museum this summer, guests can enjoy these temporary exhibits:

  • Alcatraz Art Escape – Extended through July 5, 2020. Scheduled to close in April, Alcatraz East is pleased to be able to extend this exhibit for visitors. Alcatraz Art Escape features artwork by incarcerated artists to tell the story of Alcatraz Penitentiary. This temporary exhibit is made possible through a collaboration with the organization Prison Arts Touching Hearts.

  • Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – Opens in July 2020. In partnership with TBI, this exhibit showcases the important work that is done on a daily basis, sharing information about some of the most famous cases the bureau has investigated.

“We have a lot of repeat visitors, so it’s important for us to have rotating exhibits in addition to the ones on permanent display,” added Vaccarello. “The museum offers a variety of topics from infamous fugitives to famous lawmen, having temporary exhibits allows us to emphasize additional topics.  We look forward to sharing all we have to offer once again.”

Alcatraz East Crime Museum has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden; Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief; and Judge Belvin Perry Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com. Please check out our traveling safe page with more safety tips and information: www.crimemuseum.org/help-the-missing/missing-persons/.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages - so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children and $24.95 for adults. Guests are encouraged to check the website prior to visiting for reduced hours, as a result of COVID-19, the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

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