Taney County Law Exhibit at WRVHS

Jail Graffiti

Taney County Sheriff Jimmie Russell tries his hand at carving graffiti (using nothing but a spoon) on the "jail cell" wall.

Visitors to the White River Valley Historical Society in Forsyth are invited to experience an activity common to prisoners housed in the historic Taney County jail during the Society’s latest exhibit. “Sin, ’Shine, and Sheriffs” includes pictures of courthouses, past sheriffs and elected officials, as well as takes a look at some of the well-known, and lesser-known, crimes committed over the years in the area.

A popular part of the display is a collection of pictures showcasing the graffiti from the 100-year-old Taney County jail. This graffiti, apparently carved over the years by prisoners with their silverware or other implements, not only identifies the inmates’ names and locations, but also includes drawings and accusations. A “jail wall” built by the WRVHS exhibit crew, with spoons attached, invites visitors to carve their own graffiti—a process requiring a bit of muscle, leaving one to wonder how the prisoners accomplished so much on solid concrete walls.

The free exhibit will run through the end of October in the Society’s museum, located at 297 Main Street, Forsyth, across from the Judicial Center. Hours are Monday–Friday, 10:00–4:00.

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