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Exhibit explores police surveillance as documenting history

(Photo Courtesy) Robin Shannon

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A new exhibit in New York is highlighting photographs by the New York Police Department that show how police surveillance created an expansive record of the 1960s and 1970s.  The city's Department of Records and Information Services is hosting the exhibition - "Unlikely Historians: Materials Collected by NYPD Surveillance Teams, 1960-1975" - through February.

The New York Times reports  the recently-opened show includes 30 photographs and seven film segments created while the NYPD Photo Unit was working with investigative bureaus that monitored groups deemed to be dangerous or subversive.  The exhibition itself does not present any commentary on the police activities.

Records department officials say the path to the exhibition began after an official found nearly 150,000 historical images inside the basement of NYPD headquarters.

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