• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking towards San Francisco at sunrise.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

Special Event on Alcatraz Island- Commemorating a Closing with an Opening

Historic photo of last prisoner being taken off Alcatraz Island on March 21, 1963.
Last prisoner being taken off Alcatraz Island in chains on March 21, 1963.
Leigh Wiener

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News Release Date: March 18, 2013
Contact: National Park Service, 415-561-4732

Special Event on Alcatraz Island- Commemorating a Closing with an Opening- Alcatraz closed as a Federal Penitentiary 50 years ago on March 21.
San Francisco, CA- The National Park Service (NPS) is commemorating an important point of history for Alcatraz Island on March 21. That is the date in 1963 that Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary closed forever. The National Park Service became the stewards of the infamous island almost 10 years later. 
·Opening of special exhibit of photographs based on the book "Alcatraz: The Last Day."  Exhibit and special presentations will be held See details below.
·Special presentations by former guards who worked onAlcatraz
·Special presentations by people who lived onAlcatrazwhen it was a penitentiary
·Book signing and talks by authors who have written books about life onAlcatrazfeaturing:
  • Jim Albright, author of "Last Guard Out," who will be on the island Tue Mar 19 - Sat Mar 24. Ask at the bookstore on the Island dock for his schedule and location on the Island.
  • Devik Wiener will be signing copies of "Alcatraz: The Last Day," a book of Leigh Wiener's never-before seen photographs was published by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.


When infamous Alcatraz Penitentiary closed permanently on March 21, 1963, Life Magazine editors called upon a California-based photographer Leigh Wiener, a seasoned professional, to document the day.  Most of the 300 images from that day remained unpublished, filed away in his archive, until they were discovered 45 years later by his son. In 2008, while inventorying his late father's photographic legacy of nearly 1/2 a million proof sheets and negatives, Devik Wiener recognized the images taken on the closing day ofAlcatraz. He contacted the National Park Service, and in 2012, "Alcatraz: The Last Day," a book of Leigh Wiener's never-before seen photographs, was published by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

On March 21, 2013, fifty years later, the National Park Service is opening a new exhibit of oversized prints of 27 of these never before displayed photos, in the New Industries (Laundry) Building on Alcatraz Island. There is no extra charge to see this exhibit, but hours are limited based on daily staffing and schedules. Please ask on the Island dock for information about visiting the exhibit or follow us on Twitter at @AlcatrazIsland. Visit www.nps.gov/alca for more information about visiting Alcatraz.

The exhibit will remain on the island through June of 2013, and may be extended.

Learn more about the photography of Leigh Wiener on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Leigh_Wiener and at www.leighwiener.com.

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