The Prison’s permanent exhibition
The Prison’s permanent exhibition showcases facilities, cells and objects that tell a bleak tale of everyday prison life. In summer 2021, the Prison can be explored independently for the price of admission. One of the entrances is on the ground floor, which includes special cells, the prisoners’ sauna and clothes storeroom. The 1st floor houses the Prison’s permanent exhibition, which encompasses 17 cells containing curiosities of prison life, the ticket desk and the original prison office. The 2nd floor houses sound installations, the nurse’s office and temporary exhibitions, among other elements. The Prison’s permanent exhibition also extends outside, where you can find the remnants of a panopticon-style exercise yard.
The ground floor is the floor the Prison’s new inmates first arrived on. Prisoners could arrive at the prison in three ways: by reporting themselves at the prison gate, by prisoner transport from another prison, or escorted by the police. They would enter the building from the main door, arriving at the waiting area on the ground floor. The ground floor includes the clothes storeroom, civilian clothes storage, the sauna, solitary confinement, protective custody and chain storage.
The 1st floor of the prison building houses the majority of the museum’s permanent exhibition. In the gallery corridor, you can peek inside The Prison’s administrative offices and the cells of inmates suffering different sentences and see various objects related to prison life, such as the coffin and the salted herring bucket. The 1st floor also houses installations and so-called period cells.
The 2nd floor of the prison building houses an important administrative room: the nurse’s office. A full-time nurse was responsible for the primary health care of prisoners. Acute patients visited the nurse’s office first thing in the morning. Any prescribed drugs were distributed into the cells or collected from the nurse’s room. A doctor, psychiatrist and dentist were available for consultation once a week. The room is as it was at the beginning of the 1990s.
The 2nd floor also houses a sound installation and the Prison’s temporary exhibition space.
Panopticon-style exercise yard
The Prison’s yard used to house a panopticon-style exercise yard. Panopticon-style exercise yards were circular or half-circular enclosed yards that were divided into sectors with partition walls. Viewed from above, they resembled a sliced pie. Each prisoner would exercise in their own sector of the yard, with the walls keeping different groups of prisoners separated during exercise, thus preventing communication between prisoners. In the middle of the exercise yard stood a tower from which a guard could keep an eye on all the prisoners. Some prisoners would walk back and forth in their sectors, while others would exercise or simply stand around and smoke. The exercise yard was demolished at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s to make room for an extension of the office building, but its location can still be made out from the stones on the ground.
Prison outdoor exercise area
The Prison’s outdoor exercise area has stood here since the late 1960s. There were benches at the edges of the area that prisoners used to sit on, and there was a path worn down by walking following the wall. Volleyball was popular among prisoners all the way up to the 1970s, and the yard was also used to hold matches between the prisoners and staff. Prisoners also used to play darts and hoops in the yard. Prisoners used to get between 30 minutes and one hour of outdoor exercise per day. Outdoor exercise was voluntary, and the number of prisoners who engaged in it varied depending on the weather.
The poles of the volleyball net are still standing in the yard. The green huts were for guards, and one of them remained in used all the way up to the end of the building’s use as a prison.