There is no doubt that the true-crime obsession has exploded and is quickly becoming a favorite genre in books, television, and more.  With Netflix documentaries like “Making a Murderer” and “The Ted Bundy Tapes” being binged by the second, a culture of murder enthralled curiosity is making its big debut! If you have fallen prey to this fascination with all things crime, then you should add a visit to Alcatraz East Crime Museum to the top of your Smoky Mountain itinerary!

A common misconception is that this museum is solely devoted to the history of the infamous prison Alcatraz however, this museum is much more extensive than that! The Museum is divided into five unique and eye-opening galleries: History of Crime, Crime Scene Investigation, The Consequence of Crime, Crime Fighting, and Pop Culture. Follow us as we take you on a thrilling journey through some of our favorite highlights of the 28 hands-on exhibits and over 500 artifacts.

History of American Crime

The first gallery explores the history of American crime starting with punishment from the Dark Ages and the Salem Witch Trials. Next, the gallery takes a deeper look into infamous Pirates, the unpredictable Wild West, and Depression Era Outlaws. Next, the gallery covers White Collar Crime including heists, robberies, hoaxes, and conspiracies. Lastly, the gallery takes a look at notorious serial killers, murders/kidnappings/assassinations, and military intel.

Infamous Getaway Cars

The Infamous Getaway Cars exhibit is probably one of the most popular as it features three of the most notorious getaway cars in American History!  Here you will find the following getaway cars: OJ Simpson’s 1993 Ford Bronco, The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car, John Dillinger’s 1933 Essex Terraplane, and Ted Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle.

Crime Scene Investigation

The next gallery is the CSI Experience, which contains some of the most informative and most interactive exhibits in the entire museum. The Experience covers almost every aspect of what makes up a Crime Scene Investigation like footprints, ballistics, reconstruction, toxicology, the morgue, and dental identification. Lastly, there is a section devoted to the World-renowned Body Farm founded by Dr. William Bass.

Alcatraz Art Escape (Temporary Exhibit)

The newest of 3 temporary exhibits features awe-inspiring artwork obtained from prison art rehabilitation programs. You can learn more about the exhibit here.

Punishment: The consequences of crime

As to not appear like the museum is glorifying crime, the third gallery takes a deeper look at the consequences of crime. Here, you can learn all about the steps taken by a booking officer during processing which are: booking, mugshot, property collection, fingerprinting, body search, and health screening. Next, you can check out a mock police lineup and courtroom. Then, you can take a look at three jail cells: a medieval cell, Al Capone’s 1929 cell, and a present-day cell. Lastly, this gallery explores Capital Punishment.

Second Amendment (Temporary Exhibit)

The second of the three temporary exhibits is a partnership with the NRA and is an in-depth learning experience about all the laws that shape the second amendment. This exhibit will be available for viewing through September 2019.


The third and final temporary exhibit is devoted to all things Ted Bundy! The exhibit is on display in front of Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. The exhibit allows guests to learn all about the notorious killer as well as to check out some of Bundy’s personal artifacts like letters, cards, photos, and a radio that he kept with him until his time on death row. Full access to this one-of-a-kind exhibit ended in April, however a limited display is still ongoing.

Crime Fighting

The fourth gallery is devoted to all things crime-fighting. This segment takes a look into the daring lives of law enforcement. This gallery consists of many interactive exhibits like a high-speed police chase simulator, a field sobriety checkpoint, and so much more!

Counterfeit Crimes and Pop Culture

The final gallery focuses on counterfeit crimes and pop culture. Counterfeit crimes are defined as “the illegal traffic and sale of counterfeit goods.” They are harmful because they “support the drug trade, human trafficking and child labor, and even terrorist activities.” This exhibit will show you ways in which you can help to put an end to the black market once and for all. Lastly, this gallery takes a look at sports crimes and crimes against celebrities.

The Alcatraz East Crime Museum is so extensive that there is no possible way we could have covered everything it has to offer in this article. We hope this at least sparked your interest and you will now go check out this amazing one-of-a-kind museum for yourself!