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ARTIFACT FEATURETTE:
THE ELECTRIC CHAIR FROM THE USDB

In the artifact storage area of the MP Museum is a piece of furniture that was never intended for an office. Th...is is the electric chair that was at the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Prior to the demolishment of the "Castle" portion of the USDB in 2004, the MP Museum acquired the chair and its accessories. The accessories included three different size headpieces and a black cloth hood. It is believed that the chair dates from the early 1950’s, although there was no documentation of its origin or construction date in the USDB records. The chair was always maintained in an operational state but was never used for an execution. In the past, US Army policy authorized musketry, hanging and electrocution as forms of execution, however only the practice of hanging was utilized of the three methods. The current authorized method is lethal injection.

Although this has been in storage since it was acquired, this fascinating artifact will be placed on display as part of exhibit renovations planned for 2015-16.

The USDB facility dates back to 1875 and the ‘Castle’ portion was constructed from 1909 to 1921. After the transition of prisoners in 2002 from the old USDB to a new state-of-the-art facility, the “Castle” prison building succumbed to the wrecking ball 2004-2005Reference: Peter J. Grande, United States Disciplinary Barracks (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2009), 62-64.












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