Alluring History of Alcatraz

Alcatraz, better known as "the Rock."
Alcatraz, the "Rock."

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News Release Date: September 29, 2011

Alcatraz: Life on The Rock, a traveling exhibit that tells the legendary Alcatraz story through artifacts and interactive displays, debuts at the Statue of Liberty National Monument's Ellis Island Museum of Immigration on Oct. 1. The exhibit, which marks the first time these historic artifacts are available for public display, premieres on the third floor of the Grand Hall and is open to the public through Jan. 12, 2012.

Created by Alcatraz Cruises in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), the 2,800 square-foot modular exhibit features authentic artifacts and recreated areas of the prison. Visitors enter the exhibit through a Civil War Sally Port to a touchable model of the island and can then explore four eras of the island's history:"Preserving the Rock," "Strength: The Native American Occupation," "Life on the Inside," and "Military History."Murals, video clips and memorabilia help bring to life other historical elements of the island such as its role as a military prison, the Native American occupation of 1969-71, Alcatraz's depiction in pop culture and the island's lush flora and fauna. Visitors can also get an inside look at the infamous federal prison, operated from 1934-1963.

"The demand to visit Alcatraz is nearly double the amount of visitors that the island can accommodate annually," said Terry McRae, CEO of Alcatraz Cruises and Hornblower Cruises & Events. "Through our partnership with the NPS, we can now bring this experience to visitors in other areas of the country who may not have the opportunity to visit Alcatraz, while telling the island's rich history beyond just the prison era."

Guests can visually experience life inside the prison by looking through a mock tunnel, similar to the one dug by prisoners attempting escape, and by searching for Civil War era etchings in a recreated prison wall. The exhibit features several rare, authentic artifacts, including an original letter written by Robert "Birdman" Stroud, a blood-smeared baseball from the Alcatraz exercise yard, a butter knife turned weapon and a cookbook that the Alcatraz Women's Club sold to families on the island.

Admission is included with all Statue Cruises tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and is only accessible by ferry during operating hours.

To purchase tickets, visit Museums interested in booking the Alcatraz: Life on the Rock exhibit can learn more by calling Denise Rasmussen at (415) 438-8320.

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About Alcatraz Cruises
Alcatraz Cruisesis an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.Alcatraz Island is a unit of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Alcatraz Cruises hosts 1.4 million visitors annually. Alcatraz Cruises designed, built and operates the first hybrid ferry in the United States. The Hornblower Hybrid's revolutionary design has reduced fuel consumption by 75 percent and has already begun to be implemented in other parts of the country. Statue Cruises, another subsidiary of Hornblower Cruises & Events, holds the National Park Service contract for ferry service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. For more information visit:

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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