Alcatraz 2015

Alcatraz Island

Approaching Alcatraz

This photo shows the first close-up view tourists have as they approach Alcatraz by ferry boat. In this photo, the main prison structure, lighthouse, dock, warden’s house, and water tower are all visible.


Alcatraz Island is an island in the San Francisco Bay, only 1.5 miles from the shore of San Francisco, California, United StatesToday, Alcatraz is an extremely popular and internationally-known tourist attraction, operated by the National Park Service. Tours of the island today focus on Alcatraz’s federal penitentiary era, and audio tours help guide visitors through the cellhouse, where they learn about Alcatraz’s important role in American history.

While the island is most well-known for its role as America’s first maximum-security, minimum-privilege federal penitentiary, it was also used as a military base during the Civil War and as a 1960’s era Native American occupation in protest to government policies. In studying Alcatraz and providing proposals for new interpretive plans to be implemented at Alcatraz, our group has focused on the less well-known narratives of Alcatraz, such as the island’s wildlife and landscape and the Native American occupation.

Our proposals, located in the “Interpretive Plans” section, make specific use of digital technology to provide Alcatraz’s visitors with modern, interactive methods by which to learn about and engage with Alcatraz as a cultural heritage site. By integrating digital technologies into Alcatraz’s current tourist operations, we hope to attract new, diverse communities to the island. The proposals will be focused specifically on providing visitors with accessible information and educational opportunities to learn about Alcatraz’s discovery, wildlife and landscape, and rich history as a communal home.

Table of Contents

History and Background:

History of Alcatraz Island

Key Players and Interest Groups

Modern Context and Preservation



Significance of Alcatraz

Interpretive Plans:

Interpretive Plans

Engaging New Communities

Comprehensive Site Management Plan:

Alcatraz Site Management Plan


Flickr Album

Group Members

Project Manager: Daniel Hong

daniel pic.PNG

Daniel is a third year media studies major and from Torrance, California. Daniel enjoys making music and watching sports.

“Alcatraz was of significance to me because growing up I heard a lot about the site, but never had a chance to visit. It sounded very interesting to me and I have learned a lot through this project.”

Media Manager: Rachel Tanabe

bio pic

Rachel is a political science and media studies double major from Denver, Colorado. After she graduates in May 2016, she hopes to attend graduate school.

“I was initially drawn to this project because I found Alcatraz’s history as a notoriously high-security prison to be fascinating. Throughout the course of this project, my group members and I learned that Alcatraz Island has a unique and multi-faceted history that transcends the prison era for which it is most well known.”

Editor: Sophie Ballard

sophie bio

Sophie is a fourth year, anthropology major originally from Santa Cruz, California. Sophie will be attending dental school next year and enjoys ballroom dance and playing guitar.

“I became interested in Alcatraz because my family has lived in the Bay Area for over four generations. As one of the most important landmarks of the Bay Area, Alcatraz has been a staple in the lives of my family members for many years.”

Researcher: Paulina Antaplyan


Paulina is a media studies major from Glendale, California. She hopes to move back to Los Angeles and pursue a career in public relations in Spring 2016.

“Alcatraz has always seemed like a mysterious set of walls to me. I had assumed it was only a high profile prison, but never knew it housed so many different groups. This project gave me such a different perspective looking at how multicultural the site actually was. “


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