Albuquerque Museum hopes residents will recognize loved ones in 1960s photo display

Community Reports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Museum is showcasing a unique photography project that began more than 50 years ago. In 1967, the museum hired street photographers to capture the city’s ongoing urban renewal, a mass exodus from downtown to the suburbs and a time of social change.

This year, the museum’s current Digital Archivist Jill Hartke narrowed down roughly 8,000 35-millimeter slides taken between 1967 and 1972 to 100 images that best tell the Duke City’s story.

“This is the first time that the photo archives has ever exhibited color photography from our collection.”

Jill Hartke, Digital Archivist, Albuquerque Museum

Memories from the era include the Vietnam War, NASA’s Apollo Program, and Albuquerque’s first major riot in June of 1971 at Roosevelt Park. It happened one Sunday after a rock concert was canceled when the band failed to show up. When police tried to arrest would-be concert-goers for drinking in the park, a full-blown riot broke out which spread across the city. Ultimately the riot caused over $3 million in damage and 41 injuries.

“There was a lot of flipping over of cars, setting things on fire, a state of emergency was put on the city for about 48 hours.”

Jill Hartke, Digital Archivist, Albuquerque Museum

The exhibit is broken up into three stories, including the Roosevelt Park Riot, urban renewal and history of the Albuquerque Museum itself. Hartke says despite some of its darker moments, the exhibit’s overall message is one of hope. In fact, the exhibit itself is called “Let the Sunshine In”, a nod to the number one song of 1970, “Aquarius” by 5th Dimension.

No one featured in the exhibit has been identified, as the photographers practiced true street photography, meaning they did not ask for permission to take pictures of who or what they captured. The museum hopes that people who come to the exhibit may see themselves or family members on display.

Rebecca Prinster, the museum’s Assistant Curator of History, says the exhibit’s underlying theme is Albuquerque’s population boom. So from college students, to film sets, to mothers doing the laundry, it aims to encapsulate everyday life for residents in the growing city, taking current “Burquenos” back in time.

The exhibit is open in its entirety to the public starting December 21 through May 24. Each person who visits will also get a free postcard of an image from the show. Tickets are included with regular museum entrance and range from $3 to $6 depending on age.

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