Artifacts from the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, the United States Disciplinary Barracks on Fort Leavenworth and the Lansing Correctional Facility soon will be featured in an exhibit in downtown Leavenworth.
The exhibit, titled “Behind the Walls,” is free and open to the public.
The event will take place Nov. 10-11 and Nov. 15-18 at the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, 320 S. Esplanade St.
The exhibit will be open until 5 p.m. each day.
“This is a way to bring the history of the prisons to the community that people don’t normally see,” said Ken LaMaster, a retired prison historian who is organizing the exhibit. “This will give the community a better understanding of life behind the walls of the local prisons.”
He said local historians John Reichley and Pete Grande will also be providing displays at the event.
Subject matter experts will be on hand each day of the event to answer questions about the exhibits on display.
The displays will include photos, newspaper articles, posters, weapons, patches, uniforms, restraints and more.
Attendees will be able to learn more about some of the most notorious inmates at the local prisons, including Machine Gun Kelly, Tom Pendergast, Chelsea Manning, Nidal Hasan and Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz.
Also featured will be a display of a 1931 escape when inmates, led by Frank Nash, kidnapped warden Thomas White and led him down the front steps of the USP.
The exhibit will also include artifacts from infamous military prisons such as the “Hanoi Hilton.”
The exhibit will also feature photos of celebrities who visited and performed at the prisons, including Burt Reynolds, Johnny Cash and George Jones.
LaMaster said a wooden cell door will be at the event for photo opportunities for attendees.
The prison exhibit was held two years ago at the museum. LaMaster said more than 500 people attended that event.
LaMaster is the author of two published pictorial histories of the United States Penitentiary and the city of Leavenworth.
His third book, “Leavenworth 7 – The Deadly 1931 Prison Escape,” is expected to come out in February.