Sing Sing Prison Museum Awarded Major Corporate & National Grants

Opening its Preview Center in Late 2020, Sing Sing Prison Museum in Ossining, NY Receives More Than $1M+ in Non-State Funding to Date

Original Cellblock at Sing Sing

Sing Sing Prison Museum (SSPM) has received grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities to support its plan to build a major cultural facility in Ossining, New York.  The SSPM will tell the complex and compelling story of 200 years of incarceration at one of America’s most famous prisons and will also challenge visitors to reimagine the criminal justice system and take action toward building a more just society.  Located at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, the SSPM will include two buildings – the former prison Powerhouse located outside prison property and the historic Cellblock, a monumental ruin built in 1825 and located within prison walls.

“We’re delighted and honored by these grants and are grateful these organizations recognize the importance of our mission, which is to inspire, inform and reflect on the history of punishment and rehabilitation in the American penal system through the perspective of Sing Sing Prison,” said Brent D. Glass, Interim Executive Director of Sing Sing Prison Museum and Director Emeritus of Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

A grant of $150,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the museum to create a master narrative and interpretive framework in partnership with Columbia University’s Center for Justice and Pace University’s Center for Research and Community Action.

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a Chairman’s grant of $30,000 to conduct a national Collections Survey of artifacts, manuscripts, photographs and public records that will inform the Museum’s master narrative and thematic framework.

“This NEH Chairman’s Grant will allow the new Sing Sing Prison Museum to expand access to its collection of historic records chronicling the development of America’s prisons and criminal justice system, making these valuable resources available to scholars, curators, filmmakers, and the public,” said National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.

In addition, the SSPM has received an appropriation of $250,000 from Westchester County and more than $500,000 in private contributions.  A Kickstarter campaign in 2018 generated $35,000 in small donations.  Total non-state funding now exceeds $1 million.  The state of New York has provided more than $3 million for planning and the first phase of renovation of the Powerhouse.

The SSPM will be a significant resource for local communities and visitors – a site for educational programs on criminal justice and a venue for reentry counseling for formerly incarcerated men and women. With annual attendance projected at 130,000 the SSPM will contribute to the local economic revitalization of downtown Ossining and the lower Hudson Valley along with cultural and historic sites including Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, Lyndhurst Mansion and the Hudson River Museum.

The Sing Sing Prison Museum is only 45 minutes from Grand Central Terminal and a ten-minute walk from Ossining’s Metro-North Station to the Powerhouse. In addition, visitors can drive or take the New York ferry service from Haverstraw.

A portion of the Powerhouse will open in late 2020 as a preview center. The full Museum will open in 2025, which is the 200th anniversary of the original Cellblock.

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