PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An old Philadelphia prison turned museum is offering a look at medical care of inmates as far back as the late 1800’s. A number of objects left behind in the decaying building help tell the story.
Thanks to a $200,000 wall stabilization project, it’s now structurally safe to explore Cell Block 3, also known as the hospital block at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site.
Sean Kelly is the senior vice president of the nonprofit. He says it’s the first time since the site was a museum that the wing has been opened to the public.
“The hospital includes a laboratory, the operating room, pharmacy, X-ray labs, hydrotherapy rooms, psychiatric department, and a solarium for treating patients with tuberculosis,” Kelly explained. “Some of the evidence of that is actually in the cells around us. This wing was built on the end of this cell block in the 1880’s to treat people with tuberculosis, which was an ongoing problem at Eastern State.”
Eastern State Penitentiary is inviting the public to attend a free open house on Friday at 5:30 p.m. to see the hospital wing and all of the other programming including 11 art installations throughout the abandoned prison.