Experience Prison Life of Yesteryear



Michigan's First State Prison

Constructed in 1842, Michigan’s First State Prison is now Armory Arts Village, a community of galleries, workspaces, and apartments. While this historic site has transformed into a vibrant neighborhood, Historic Prison Tours offers a first-hand look at the former prison’s amazing architecture and eerie basement (solitary confinement). You’ll hear stories about notorious escapes and plate-throwing riots that resulted from over-crowding and difficult living conditions. From industrialism to rehabilitation, the influence this landmark has on Jackson’s history is remarkable and not to be missed!


Our Newest Tour

Historic Prison Tours will offer a step on guide tour to take you through Historic Jackson and add more enjoyment to your thrilling prison time with our   PARISHES, PRISONS AND PRODIGIOUS PAINT TOUR Start by touring Michigan's first prison before going touring Jackson's fine downtown restaurants and end by touring Historic Jackson that features Historic Churches, Railroad history, the Worlds Largest Prison, Bright Walls Murals plus other historic Jackson sites


Our Visitors Have a Great Time!


  • Charlieapb
    The historic value was great. The info about the old walls, cells, the prisoners, and what went on were fascinating. Judy, Steve, and Jim were great. They complimented each other very well and the humor was fantastic. I've done this tour twice and each time was great. The whole package deal, with the tour and the lunch was wonderful.
  • lesaj 798
    We'd been to Alcatraz and figured that was the only prison tour we needed. (Seen one, see them all?) Boy, were we wrong! Even though the cells are no longer in the building, there was still plenty to see and hear. If you like historical tours, prison related tours, or Jackson and Michigan history, this is the tour for you!
    lesaj 798
  • Sheree E.
    Went on tour with Susan today. What a great tour. So many interesting facts. Tours started around 2008. There r 62 apts on site. There r also 12 artist studios on site as well. The stories were amazing.
    Sheree E.
  • Thea V.
    Was a great tour. Very interesting and you could feel the history inside the prison. Great upcoming artists and what they have done for the community.
    Thea V.
  • JimNV
    Took the interesting tour today with our guest from California. Our tour guide Steve was extremely knowledgeable and presented the history of the prison in an interesting and humorous manner. Try it. You'll like it!!
  • tlbweav
    It was very interesting to hear the stories and see where they keep criminals. The solitary dungeon was so eerie to think people actually had to live down there. You could almost feel their presence.
  • Lisa E.

    Had a great time and the tour guide knew a great amount of information. Planning on going back to cell block 7 tour.

    Lisa E.
  • Elaine S.

    My family and I just took this amazing tour. You see the punishing and primitive conditions the prisoners suffered in the 19th and early 20th century. The solitary confinement cell in the basement was like a dungeon in a horror movie. The guide was so knowledgeable and held our interest with fascinating anecdotes. In the afternoon we toured Cell Block 7 in the modern prison. It has in -depth exhibits of the life of current prisoners from the moment they enter there in handcuffs. Cell Block 7 has been used by producers of several movies. This tour is definitely worth a trip to Jackson, Michigan.

    Elaine S.
  • Al G.
    Prisons are part of our society and to learn about the history of the largest walled prison in the US provided insights on how incarceration has changed. The old complex was amazing in its size and architecture. And, its conversion to an art enclave shows great imagination in its re-use.
    Al G.
  • Barbara G
    Enjoyed both tours from historical prison to Seven block. Very interesting stories of life in both places. The guide was entertaining and knowledgeable.
    Barbara G
  • Douglas 234
    One of the great things about this tour outfit - they don't put you on the other side of a velvet rope.  Knowledgable people show it to you.  It's a real Michigan Gem!
    Douglas 234
  • Travel Time Tours
    I brought a mystery tour to Jackson.  The guides were historians who made this trip unique and one of a kind.  I recommend this tour to everyone.
    Travel Time Tours
  • Peznbooks
    This was a fantastic tour!  Our guides were enthusiastic, interesting and entertaining!  I forgot I was part of a large group - it was that personal!  Do yourself a favor - take a tour!
  • bwgsarnett
    Both tours of the historic prison and the tour at Seven Block 7 was well worth the time and cost!  This was a belated "birthday present" for our brother-in-law! He also enjoyed the tour! Thank you Jim and Judy for your informative history lesson of both prisons. The way that Jim and Judy presented the history, and the stories they have acquired and passed on to the tour group were both entertaining and educational. Not a dull moment in this tour! If you are ever looking for a way to spend a Saturday in Jackson and love local history, check this out!
  • Cheryl L.
    Me and my husband took this tour a month ago and what a eye opening experience, cell block 7 was a reality of what kind of life prison is.  No privacy and very small cells. We knew we could walk out at any time but after we did we saw real prisoners walking in a yard and thought what a hellish life it is. Prison was a very scary place and could not imagine the life of being in there for more than a hour. This tour should be mandatory for all troubled youth.
    Cheryl L.
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