After a century of use, the antiquated prison was closed on June 18, 1985. That same year the warden's house was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings and Sites. For many years the Bucks County Council on the Arts (predecessor to the James A. Michener Art Museum) had searched for a place to build a museum, and this historic location seemed to be the perfect setting. In 1987, the Bucks County Commissioners leased the buildings to the Michener Art Museum, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Bucks County's artistic legacy. Prison buildings and cells were demolished, but the warden's house and control building were converted to exhibition and office spaces. The Museum was named in honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who is a Doylestown native, and was opened to the public in September 1988 at a ceremony that was presided over by Mr. Michener and his wife Mari.