Folsom Prison Working To Share History With New ‘Big House’ Museum

FOLSOM (CBS13) – Johnny Cash isn’t the only man to make history at Folsom State Prison. There’s a new effort to take all the prison’s stories and build a massive big house prison museum.

“I think everyone is curious about what really happens inside,” said retired Lt. Dennis Sexton.

It’s a curiosity that could be filled at the Folsom Prison Museum.

“We have a Gatling gun that dates back to the early 1800s that we got in 1925, and we have some machine guns,” said Pino Ramacher.

The history dates back to the very opening of Folsom State Prison, the first maximum security prison in 1880.

“There’s a lot of things that happened here that helped California grow,” said Sexton.

Interesting and expanding itself, it goes far beyond what has become home to some of the most sought after valuables.

“We’re running out of room. We have warehouses, garages full of artifacts,” said Museum Operation Manager Jim Brown.

After writing a letter to the state of California in hopes of support to build something larger, in just two weeks it was approved.

“Everything will stay on prison property. We want to build a museum called the Big House Prison Museum, encompassing everything from across the U.S.,” said Brown.

Prisons all across the nation will be incorporated into one impressive museum.

“You come out here and take a look at this place, take a look at our east gate, and talk to the officer and see what history is about,” said Sexton.

It will take time, with the goal being two years to start building. When it happens, a new bike trail named after Johnny Cash at Folsom Lake Crossing Road will lead people straight to the new building.

“The trail will come right to the parking lot of this new museum,” said Brown.

The museum is looking forward to more visitors from all over the country, hopefully just temporary ones.

“If you’re coming here because the people of the state of California sent you here, well you will have your time too,” said Sexton.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for major holidays.

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