Monthly Event

Beyond Neutrality - A New Vision for Eastern State Penitentiary

This Event Has Passed


Thursday, January 9, 2020

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM


Center for Architecture + Design, 1218 Arch St.


*Please note that our January meeting will take place on the second Thursday of the month. Today, Eastern State is a tourist destination, drawing over 400,000 visitors annually to the site's daytime tour program and its fall fundraiser, Terror Behind the Walls. The 11-acre site remains a stabilized ruin. Hear from members of the historic site’s leadership team about how the building was saved and grew to become one of the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia. Learn about the goals of the first twenty years of programming and preservation as well as how and why they recently adopted a new mission and vision for the site with a current focus on deepening the national conversation around criminal justice.

Previous DAG Monthly Events

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Learning from Undoing: The Reimagined Library for 21st Century Uses and Users

Archived | 2019-11-07

Philadelphia’s Construction Boom –The Ecstasy and the Agony. How can a neighborhood survive the proliferation of unpermitted construction?

Archived | 2019-10-03

Transit-oriented Redevelopment Opportunity along North Broad Street Commercial Corridor


Sally Elk, President & CEO

Sally Elk, President & CEO was one of the organizing members of the Eastern State Penitentiary Task Force in 1988 while working for the Philadelphia Historical Commission, the City’s preservation agency.  She has contributed to the preservation and development of the penitentiary as a cultural site since the beginning of the project.  She joined Eastern State as its first Executive Director in 1999.

Sean Kelley

Sean Kelley has run all public programming at Eastern State Penitentiary since 1995, when he was hired as the organization’s first full-time employee.  He produced the site’s award-winning audio tour, now heard by more than a million visitors. He has curated more than 100 site-specific artist installations at the site, and curated the exhibit Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration which won the 2017 Overall Award for Excellence from the American Alliance of Museums.  Mr. Kelley visits active prisons and writes critically about museums and social justice.

Lauren Zalut

Lauren Zalut oversees guided tours and leads family and school programming at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. Using the historic site as a catalyst for conversation on social issues, Lauren has worked to incorporate dialogue facilitation techniques, lived experience in prison, and content about mass incarceration into guided programs, including youth and family audiences. Lauren believes the museums can bring about social change, and she works to design inspiring and transformative visitor experiences.