For me, museums are just another place where relicsÂ of the old are stored and stared at. I find it hard forÂ them to grab my concentration. But recently, I found aÂ not-so-uninteresting, interactive museum thatâ€™s not evenÂ that far off from the beaten path. The Yuma TerritorialÂ Prison is right off of Interstate 8 in downtown Yuma.
When first entering the prison, it seems like thereÂ is not a lot to it but once venturing further you willÂ see it is more than meets the eye.
The first leg of the museum is indoors and showcasesÂ the people and artifacts from the prison such asÂ photos of prisoners, weapons and items used in theÂ prison. Also located in the museum was a short movieÂ detailing exactly how life was at the prison. ComingÂ out of there, I had a better appreciation of how roughÂ it really was back then. I could only imagine howÂ people survived in the blazing summer heat withoutÂ electricity or how people were able to find enoughÂ food to eat when the land was barren of vegetation.
As I walked out of the air conditioned museumÂ and back into the scorching Yuma sun, I saw the actualÂ holding areas of the inmates. From that I realizedÂ the conditions really were terrible. These outdoorÂ parts were where the prisoners lived. First, I walked Â past the cells where they lived, which had replicatedÂ bunks in a few cells. Also saw the room that theyÂ call the â€œDark Roomâ€, which is just a dark, dankÂ cave with a door. The living quarters were the bestÂ area of the whole museum because I could actuallyÂ see and feel what it was like to be imprisoned duringÂ the 19th century.
The last part of the tour was minor, but toppedÂ it off quite well with an overview of the ColoradoÂ River and the surrounding area on top of a reconstructedÂ guard tower.
As a whole experience, I was very skeptical at first,Â but the more I ventured into this aged prison fromÂ the 19th century, the more I was willing to immerseÂ myself into its rich history.