Visitors are often surprised at the complexity of a penitentiary environment. It isn't just about crime and punishment. Learn about the forward-thinking entertainment and art programs introduced in the 1950s as you wander through the eight display rooms at your own pace. See our unparalleled collection of penitentiary-related artifacts and photographs. As an added bonus, during the summer months, the museum is staffed by retired Officer Volunteers whose first-hand experiences currently date back to 1960!
To encourage local tourism, the museum grounds offer a breath-taking view over Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and Lake Ontario. Many of our visitors come by just to admire the limestone architecture that has made Kingston famous the world over as "the Limestone City".
In 2003 the Penitentiary Museum won the "Rand McNally Best of the Road" Award. One of only 27 sites in North America to do so! In 2012 and 2014, we received a Tripadvisor "Certificate of Excellence" based upon a visitor satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5! We are also proud of the fact that we are regularly rated among the top 3 museums in Kingston by readers of Kingston This Week in their annual "Reader's Choice Awards".