Welcome to the Big House! Alcatraz East, a new crime museum, announced they are scheduled to open in Pigeon Forge in fall 2016. The museum will give visitors the behind-the-scenes story of our nation’s crime history.
“This is going to be the place for the public to learn about crime history, law enforcement, and all things related,” said Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East. “We look forward to being part of this community!”
Alcatraz East will be located at the entrance to The Island, 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. The museum’s neighbors at The Island include Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen and Margaritaville Hotel, and will offer historic objects and activities for the entire family.
The crime museum’s façade will be themed as a 19th century prison, which was always the desire of museum owner, John Morgan.
“He was originally inspired to do this project after visiting Alcatraz in San Francisco over 20 years ago,” Vaccarello said. “So it’s only fitting that we create John’s original vision.”
Morgan previously owned the Crime Museum in Washington, D.C. that permanently closed on September 30, 2015, allowing for the creation of a more ambitious attraction he says will be even better than the previously “must-see” museum.
Spread over two floors, the 24,000 square foot crime museum will include original artifacts as well as interactive displays that feature a variety of ways for visitors to learn more about criminal intent, criminal profiles, the penal system, victim’s stories, crime prevention, law enforcement, forensic science and our justice system.
“Alcatraz East is going to make a great addition to our city,” added Earlene Teaster, Pigeon Forge city manager. “Our city truly offers something for everyone, making it a great family-friendly destination. We look forward to having this museum become a part of our community.”
Some of the interactive features of the museum will be a CSI lab, a simulated shooting range, safe cracking, digital fingerprinting, and DUI interactive safety training. Artifacts from the museum’s extensive collection that will be on display include John Dillinger’s death mask, Al Capone’s rosary, a Bonnie & Clyde collection, the Bronco from the OJ chase, an FBI polygraph machine, Al Pacino’s submachine gun from the movie Scarface, items related to the 2012 Benghazi attack, and the latest in law enforcement technology. The museum’s mission is to provide guests of all ages with a memorable journey into the history of American crime and its consequences, law enforcement, forensic science, and crime scene investigation (CSI) through a captivating interactive and entertaining educational experience.
“I’m looking forward to having Alcatraz East as my new neighbor! I’m fascinated with forensic science,” says Paula Deen of Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. “After spending time at the museum, people can stop in for a good meal. Together we make a great family friendly combination for spending a day at The Island in Pigeon Forge.”
There will be 20 different exhibit areas covering five themes for guests to explore including the history of American crime, consequences of crime, crime scene investigation, crime fighting and pop culture.
“Last year we experienced record high visitors to our area,” says David Wear, mayor of Pigeon Forge. “We know that this attraction will enhance our visitors’ family entertainment while staying with us.”
Photos: Courtesy of Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.