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Many artists visit Alcatraz Island each year, bringing with them exhibits that showcase interpretation of life’s challenges on the Island. These artists present works with themes such as internment, freedom, integrating with society, etc. In 2014 and 2015, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s work visited the Island for eight months showcasing his perspective on human rights, political prisoners and freedom of expression that resonate far beyond Alcatraz Island. In 2019, Future IDs at Alcatraz artworks represented individual stories of transformation.

Videos Around Alcatraz

“Alcatraz: Stories From the Rock”

Building 64 Theater (50 yards up the road from the Alcatraz Island dock)

17-minute video presentation of the Island’s 200 year history

“Alcatraz: Stories From the Rock” takes visitors on a journey through the Island’s many chapters; its early role as a military fortress, the famous federal penitentiary years, the Indian Occupation that altered the course of history, and finally the popular National Recreation Area and wildlife refuge Alcatraz Island is today.

Alcatraz Island stands as a powerful symbol of resolve and change. The film, produced by the Discovery Channel, explores Alcatraz at its beginning, as it evolved, and as it stands today, an incredible time capsule of history and human drama.

This video is shown every 30 minutes. For hearing impaired visitors, the video is open captioned; it is also subtitled in Spanish.

“We Hold the Rock”

China Alley

The occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971 by “Indians of All Tribes” changed the course of U.S. and American Indian civil rights and brought worldwide attention to the plight of American Indians. The award winning video/exhibit, “WE HOLD THE ROCK,” produced by the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, is shown continually in the exhibit area behind the main theater known as China Alley.

Displays Around Alcatraz

Alcatraz Landing Interpretive Program

Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing

Before or after your trip to the Island, be sure to walk the stations positioned around the Landing area, including a scale model of Alcatraz Island, civil war cannon, and stories detailing the many facets of life on the Island.

“Alcatraz and the American Prison Experience”

Alcatraz Island

“Alcatraz and the American Prison Experience,” is a major interpretive exhibit, which explains the place of Alcatraz in the evolution of prisons in America from Colonial days to the present. Interesting artifacts from uniforms, to weapons, to products made by inmates, are on display. Produced in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the exhibit also looks at family life on Alcatraz as well as trends in American penology. The exhibit is housed in two historic fortress storerooms in China Alley, the exhibit area behind the main theatre in Building 64.

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