state:
Connecticut
Local history:
Digging Deep into the Carceral Past
What should tourists learn at a historic prison?
University of Connecticut
National Traveling Venue:
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut
405 Babbidge Road, Unit 1205, Storrs, CT 06269-1205
March 10, 2018March 15, 2018

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Connecticut: Digging Deep into the Carceral Past
What should tourists learn at a historic prison?
University of Connecticut

Located in East Granby, the “Old Newgate Prison and Copper Mine” was incorporated as a mine in 1705. After being abandoned for two decades, the old shafts were designated the colony’s first prison in 1773. Those incarcerated at Newgate were required to work the mine and confined underground the rest of the time. New forms of labor were introduced over time—all on the surface—while prisoners remained confined below at night. During the Revolution, loyalists were incarcerated there. In 1790, Newgate became the nation’s first state prison. Following its closure in 1827 and several failed attempts at restarting the mine through the 1840s, Newgate became a tourist destination run by private owners until it was purchased by the state and designated a historic site in 1968. Why was a mine presumed a good place for incarceration, prison labor, and tourism?

Our Point of View

As new undergraduate history majors, we came to this project through a course devoted to learning how to become historians. Most of us were unfamiliar with the histories and contemporary issues of incarceration in the U.S. and Connecticut going into the class. In researching Newgate, we were struck by continuities, including the disproportionate incarceration of poor and non-white people, prison labor, and the desires of the non-incarcerated to see and experience the prison.

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Connecticut: Digging Deep into the Carceral Past    University of Connecticut
What should tourists learn at a historic prison?
Connecticut: Digging Deep into the Carceral Past
What should tourists learn at a historic prison?
  University of Connecticut

National Exhibition Venue    Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut

Public Dialogues and Events
| March 10 – March 15, 2018

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