Rotary Jail Museum
and Tannenbaum
Cultural Center
UPCOMING EVENTS
(see the Upcoming Events page on this website for more details)


ART WORKSHOPS
are held in the Tannenbaum Cultural Center located behind the Rotary Jail Museum. Check the upcoming events page of this website for details!

Introductory Watercolor Workshop
Saturday, November 1   1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Cost: $35
Features visiting instructor Linda Snyder
Artist Linda Snyder will be
visiting Crawfordsville to teach
this class. No prior painting experience necessary. You will leave the workshop with a completed watercolor, suitable
for framing. In this workshop,
you will be working on how to
find a subject to paint, water control, what brushes to use, paints, and finishing your
painting with ink line. This is a
fun class to take with a friend!
All materials furnished...just
bring yourself! 

Communicating with the Dead 
Saturday, Nov. 1 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. $12/person

Do you want to talk to your deceased loved ones but don’t know how? This workshop, held appropriately on the Day of the Dead, will teach you different ways to communicate, and ways to receive and identify communication from them. You will also have a chance to share and ask questions about any experiences you have had. You must register in advance as spaces are limited. Sign up at the museum, or register online at Eventbrite.

Welcome!

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!

Open Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Hours from March 1 through Memorial Day, and Labor Day to Dec. 15, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Summer Hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Admission: $4 adults, $1 ages 6 - 12, Free 5 and under
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, 
contactus@rotaryjailmuseum.org
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 kghall@rotaryjailmuseum.org. 
We can mail gift certificates to you -- you do not need to stop by the museum.


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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.

Location


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).

Hours

The Museum is open between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday from March 1 - December 14. 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 Dec. 15 - Feb. 28.)

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 contactus@rotaryjailmuseum.org or call 765-362-5222 to schedule an appointment.)
 
Cost

Admission is $4.00 per adult, $1.00 for children ages 6 - 12, and children 5 and under are free.

Parking

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
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFDf-Wh2HTg

Obscura Day 2012 featuring a tour by Liz Shull, who served as the jail matron in the rotary jail's final years of operation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BFxrm2fUD4 

Newsletters

Interested in reading the latest about our museum? Check out our newsletters!

End of Summer Newsletter, 2013 Rotary Jail Museum Newsletter August 2013.pdf
2.0 MB


We want to thank the Montgomery County Community Foundation for our new roof!
We no longer have leaks! Dry is good. 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
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