Pigeon Forge Crime Museum Adds New Interactive Exhibits and Artifacts (Including Charles Manson’s Guitar)
Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN now features a number of new interactive exhibits and artifacts that are sure to enthrall true crime fans. Dedicated to the history of crime in America, this popular museum covers everyone from Jesse James to O.J. Simpson. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Visit My Smokies has put together a guide to all of the new additions to the Pigeon Forge crime museum.
New Artifacts at the Pigeon Forge Crime Museum
Since it opened in 2016, Alcatraz East has attracted a lot of attention for displaying the belongings of America’s most notorious criminals. Prominent examples include O.J. Simpson’s Ford Bronco, Ted Bundy’s VW Beetle, and Al Capone’s rosary. Now, these infamous artifacts are joined by the following new items:
Charles Manson’s Guitar
Before Charles Manson shocked the world by orchestrating the Tate-LaBianca Murders, the cult leader was an aspiring musician. Back in 1968, Manson had a brief friendship with Dennis Wilson, the drummer of the Beach Boys. The iconic band even recorded a reworded version of a Manson-penned tune, “Cease to Exist”, which the Beach Boys released as “Never Learn Not to Love.”
The guitar on display at Alcatraz East was seized when Manson was arrested at the Barker Ranch in Inyo County, California. Etched with Manson’s name on the headstock, the acoustic guitar is joined by a copy of the Beach Boys’ single “Never Learn Not to Love.”
Revolvers Used by the James-Younger Gang
Led by Jesse James and his brother Frank, the James-Younger Gang was a group of outlaws that committed a number of robberies around Missouri after the Civil War. The revolvers housed at Alcatraz East were used by gang members Clarence Hite and Robert “Wood” Hite, who were cousins of the James brothers. The Hites rode with Jesse James during his final days, until Wood was murdered by Robert Ford, who killed Jesse four months later.
John du Pont’s Foxcatcher Medal
John du Pont was an eccentric millionaire who established a wrestling facility at his sprawling estate, Foxcatcher Farm, in the 1980s. In the following years, Du Pont began displaying paranoid and erratic behavior, and in 1996, he shot and killed former Olympic gold medalist Dave Shultz. The events leading up to the murder were dramatized in the film Foxcatcher starring Steve Carell as John du Pont.
Sheriff Richard Allen “Smoot” Schmid’s Cowboy Boots
Dallas County sheriff Richard Allen “Smoot” Schmid was an enemy of Bonnie and Clyde. Schmid nearly captured the infamous robbers when they tried to meet with their family members near Sowers, Texas in 1933. Bonnie and Clyde sensed that they were walking into a trap and narrowly escaped the ambush with minor injuries from a bullet that passed through their car. As visitors to Alcatraz East will see, Schmid cut an imposing figure; he was 6’5 ½” with size 14 cowboy boots.
Family Photos of Jaycee Dugard and Original “Jaycee Lee” Recordings and Flyers
In 1991, 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnaped while walking to her school bus stop near South Lake Tahoe, California. Local radio DJ Larry Williams wrote the song “Jaycee Lee” to raise money for poster materials, printing, postage, and other expenses related to the continuing search efforts for Dugard. Jaycee was finally found and rescued in 2009.
New Exhibits at the Pigeon Forge Crime Museum
In addition to all of the new crime artifacts, Alcatraz East has added a number of interactive exhibits. As reported by the Sevier News Messenger, the museum’s new exhibits include:
• A station where guests can learn how to tie knots used by pirates on the high seas. Aspiring buccaneers can try their hand at the Mooring Hitch, the Cleat Hitch, and the Bowline.
• A new display on the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 allows museum guests to share their own memories from 9/11.
• Visitors to the Crime Fighting section of the museum will be able to say “thank you” to our nation’s law enforcement officers with a personal message that can be addressed to a particular officer or department.
More Attractions in Pigeon Forge
Looking for more fun things to do during your next vacation? Check out our complete listing of attractions in Pigeon Forge!