Supporters envision thousands of tourists streaming "up the river" from
"Sing Sing is a brand name," said
The prison's fame stems from the many criminals who ended up at Sing Sing and, in some cases, never came back. They included
The prison was also the last stop for many members of the notorious
Sing Sing's reputation was burnished by
"It's full of history, that's for sure," said
The power plant is separated from the 1,600 inmates by a high wall topped with guard towers. It provided a steady source of power from 1936 through at least 1963, the last time the electric chair was used.
And despite a commonly held notion from prison movies, Wolpinsky said, "The lights did not dim at Sing Sing when the electric chair was used."
There are plenty of prison museums around the country, but most, like Alcatraz in
For now, plans include a mock-up of original cells —which were 7 feet (2.1 meters) long, 3½ feet (1 meter)wide and 6½ feet (1.95 meters) high — as well as a recreation of the old "death house," complete with electric chair.
The layout, 22,000 square feet (2,045 square meters) in all, will allow visitors to avoid that exhibit, however.
"There are some things people just don't want to see," said state Assemblywoman
A Sing Sing museum could eventually attract 250,000 people a year, supporters say. Hornblower, the company that sends boats to Alcatraz and the Statue of Liberty, is involved in the Sing Sing planning.
A Sing Sing museum had been proposed as recently as 2005, but the economic downturn stymied those plans, Galef said.
"Now we're at a very good point for this," she said. "The state's economic plan calls for construction and tourism. We're hoping for funds from various levels of government, private companies and individuals."
First on the to-do list is to update earlier studies "and that will tell us how much we'll need. Then we can apply for grants and so on," Faiella said. A fundraiser was held this month. And plans for the museum will probably include a gift shop.
AP news researcher
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