Restored cell, Maricopa County Courthouse

former jail cellblock may not sound like the most promising venue for an education center. But a place that had taught a wealth of lessons based on hard knocks got a new lease on life May 31.

That’s the day that the Justice Museum and Learning Center opened in the old Maricopa County Court building. As the court reports:

“The project features a restored cellblock located on the sixth floor of Maricopa County’s historic old courthouse. This project is the result of the hard work of many judicial officers, attorneys, court administrators and community partners. In 2010, Maricopa County Museum and Justice Learning Center Foundation was formed to oversee the construction and opening of the Museum. Through the efforts of the Foundation, more than $100,000 was raised to fund construction and renovation costs. Also, American Express made a generous $50,000 corporate donation.”

I’m especially pleased to see the transformation. Years ago, I accompanied our photographer and author—my former colleague Leslie Ross—as she shot the top floor of the courthouse. We had a week to do that, before the vintage jail cells were ripped out for a planned office suite. I’m happy to see that some of the vintage cells survived to educate another day.

You can see our Arizona Attorney Magazine story from 2002 here.

And here are some photos from the May 31 ribbon-cutting, courtesy of the Superior Court.

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