Penal History Sites in Canada

Carceral Cultures

Lindsay outside copy.JPG

Olde Gaol Museum in Lindsay, Ontario (photo credit: Alex Luscombe, June 2014)

From world-renowned carceral spaces like Alcatraz in San Francisco to lesser-known sites such as the Old Stone Jail in Beaverton, Ontario, penal tourism has become popular all around the globe. Penal history museums housed in former prisons, jails and lock-ups have been established in cities, towns, as well as rural areas across Canada. But how do these sites portray crime and punishment? How do such museums depict the state and those subject to state control? To answer these questions, we have thus far carried out fieldwork at 45 penal history museums across Canada, conducted interviews with staff and curators, examined relics and displays, and assessed marketing materials and brochures. 

See the Publications feature for our scholarly writing on this work.