On June 1, the Missouri State Penitentiary will begin offering its popular ghost and history tours again at the 184-year-old prison. In a press release today from the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, it says work is underway at the historic site to launch new protocols to ensure a safe environment for all during this COVID-19 era.

The Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City’s front entrance (2019 file photo courtesy of Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau)

The popular Jefferson City tourist attraction has thousands of visitors from around the world who want to view the prison that dates back to 1836. It was the oldest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi River until it was decommissioned in 2004.

The prison is known for paranormal activity and some of the individuals who served time there, including renowned bank robbers Pretty Boy Floyd and Adam Richetti, Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinator James Earl Ray, pro boxer Sonny Liston, President Ulysses S. Grant’s trusted ally General John McDonald and 1841 abolitionist George Thompson.

Due to limited tour capacity, guests are strongly encouraged to buy their tour tickets in advance at MissouriPenTours.com. It is also requesting individuals to bring their signed tour waiver with them to reduce contact during check-in.

The bureau says during the reopening phase, the MSP will boost disinfection procedures, abide by social distancing guidelines, and restrict tour capacities at the facility and the MSP museum. MSP’s health and safety measures include 6 feet social distancing markers placed in high-traffic areas, hand sanitizing stations positioned around the location, and staff and guests are highly encouraged to wear face coverings while in the buildings.

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