The Montgomery County Cultural Foundation  Rotary Jail Museum & Tannenbaum  Cultural Center

765.362.5222 Cold Season Tours by Appointment Only 
December - March
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Our Rotary Jail opened in 1882 as the first rotary jail in the country! Its round cell block sits on a turntable that revolves when a hand crank is turned. Just 18 rotary jails were built, and we are the only one that still spins. Come see this remarkable feat of 1880's engineering that still rotates!

The Montgomery County Cultural Foundation

Presents a Dinner and Murder Mystery to Die For!

Marriage, Murder,
& Mayhem at Mardi Gras!

Written by Amber DuBois

Audience Participation - The night will include a catered meal and cocktails; minimum age per ticketed guest is 18 - non alcoholic beverages available for persons under 21 (ID required for entry). Dinner will be served at the Tannenbaum Cultural Center following a procession and very short walk from the Rotary Jail Museum… You are encouraged to wear Mardi Gras or dressy wedding reception style outfits!

Saturday, February 6th at 7 o’clock

Doors will open promptly at 7 o'clock to the front entrance of the Rotary Jail Museum (225 N. Washington Street)

Tickets - $35 per person or $60 per couple $100 per group of 4

ADVANCED TICKET PURCHASE IS REQUIRED. Tickets will not be sold at the door, spaces are limited!

For online ticket purchases like us on Facebook and visit our "Events" page or visit or follow the ticket link below.

To Purchase Tickets at the Rotary Jail Museum - Please Call in Advance 303.521.1168 or 765.362.5222

For more information, temporary ticket holds and purchase arrangements you can also email

Open Hours: The Rotary Jail Museum is CLOSED for tours!

Hours from March 1 through Memorial Day, and Labor Day to Nov. 28th, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Summer Hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Tours in the winter must be arranged at least a week in advance and are by appointment only. Please be advised that the historic rotary jail is not heated.

Admission: $5 adults, $1 ages 6 - 17, Free 5 and under
Tours Are Complimentary & Will Be Given By A Docent or Staff Member Upon Availability

No reservations necessary for museum tours -- just come by!
Large groups (12 or more) are encouraged to set up tour appointments.  

Question? The fastest way to get a response is to send us an email,
You can also phone us at 765.362.5222.

Gift Certificates are available!
Give a gift certificate for an art class, a museum membership, 
or it can even be used in our gift shop or for museum admission!
Call 765-362-5222 or email 
We can mail gift certificates to you -- you do not need to stop by the museum.

The Montgomery County Rotary Jail opened in 1882 as a solution to housing prisoners safely, efficiently and humanely. It was the first rotary jail constructed in the United States. It has a round two-story cell-block on a turntable that is rotated by a hand-crank. There were eventually eighteen rotary jails constructed in the U.S. Today, it is the only operational rotary jail in the country.

The Rotary Jail operated as the Montgomery County Jail for 91 years, from 1882 - 1973. After it was closed, the Montgomery County Cultural Foundation was created to run the jail and attached sheriff's residence as a museum. The sheriff's residence is a beautiful two-story home of predominantly Eastlake style architecture. The sheriff's family lived in the home and shared responsibility for care of the prisoners. 

A visit to the museum today includes a tour of the rotary jail and sheriff's home, including both permanent exhibits of local artifacts and temporary exhibits of interest. There is also the Turnkey Gift Shop.

The Tannenbaum Cultural Center is the former steam plant built in 1887 to heat the rotary jail, sheriff's residence, and county courthouse. The steam plant was converted to a cultural center and re-opened in September 2011. It is located directly behind the Rotary Jail Museum. It is used today for various cultural events and is made available to local residents to rent for special occasions. There are also paranormal investigations conducted at the jail and residence on a regular basis.


The Rotary Jail Museum is located at 225 N. Washington St. Crawfordsville, IN 47933. The Tannenbaum Cultural Center is the former steam plant located directly behind the museum at 107 W. Spring St.
The Museum is located in Crawfordsville on U.S. 231, at the intersection of N. Washington St. and W. Spring St.

Crawfordsville is located approximately one hour northwest of Indianapolis (off I-74), 45 minutes south of Lafayette (on U.S. 231 South) and 1 hour 20 minutes from Terre Haute (U.S. 41 North to IN-47N to U.S. 231 N).


The Museum is open between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday from March 1 - November 28. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the museum is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  We recommend you arrive 45 minutes (at least) before we close to allow time for a full tour. (We are closed Nov. 15th - Feb. 28th.)

During our regular open hours, you do not need an appointment for a tour. Docents are ready and available to show you the museum! Just come!

The museum is closed major holidays, including Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve and Day.

Winter tours, in late December, January and February, are available by advance appointment only if a staff person or volunteer is available. Please contact us at least a week before your desired tour date. The historic Rotary Jail is not heated, and all exhibits are removed from the jail for the winter. Cold and condensation can make winter tours difficult. We encourage you to wait until spring if you can! (E-mail us at or call 765-362-5222 to schedule an appointment.)

Admission is $5.00 per adult, $1.00 for children ages 6 - 17; children 5 and under are free.


There is free on-street parking on N. Washington St. and W. Spring St., on the front and side of the museum. The museum's front door faces N. Washington St.

Handicap Access

At the rear of the museum is a wheelchair ramp that enters the museum through the back door. The first floor of the residence is wheelchair accessible, but only part of the first floor of the jail is. (There is a narrow door into the actual cell block that is not wide enough for most wheelchairs.) The Tannenbaum Cultural Center is fully accessible, and includes a public wheelchair-accessible rest room.

Tour Groups

With advance notice, we are happy to accommodate your tour group. Large groups are divided into smaller groups to tour the museum.  Please be aware that we only have two rest rooms. If you have a large bus of guests coming from out of town, you may want to stop somewhere first with better rest room facilities before arriving at our facility. With advance notice, we can accommodate up to 65-70 guests at one time.

Want to see video of our museum? Check these out!

Heartland Highways Program 1003

Obscura Day 2012 featuring a tour by Liz Shull, who served as the jail matron in the rotary jail's final years of operation 

We want to thank the Montgomery County Community Foundation for our new roof!
We no longer have leaks! Dry is good. And thanks to the Community Foundation,
the third floor of the rotary jail is now repainted. Many thanks, MCCF!

With much appreciation to our corporate sponsor, Team Pyle RE/MAX Real Estate Associates!

309 E. Main St. Crawfordsville, IN 47933 Tel. 765.362.8617

225 North Washington St. Crawfordsville, IN 47933
Tel. 765-362-5222
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 771 Crawfordsville, IN 47933

Ceramic Painting Workshop

Cowboy Christmas!

(see the Upcoming Events page on this website for more details)

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