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Thursday, June 9, 2016

"Arresting Images": Historic mugshots from OPP collection to be exhibited at county archives

Media release (h/t Rosemary Legge):

June 9, 2016 - Lennox & Addington County) – This summer, the Lennox & Addington County Museum & Archives will be overrun with criminals of all sorts. But don’t worry, the museum isn’t being converted back into the County jail, and the police need not be called. It is all part of an exciting travelling exhibit courtesy the OPP Museum.

'Arresting Images' is an exhibit that features 100 historic mug shots from The OPP Museum’s permanent collection, dating from 1886 to 1908. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity for the public to view these historical photographic portraits collected in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection was assembled by the Niagara Falls “Ontario Police” - precursors of today’s Ontario Provincial Police.

Arresting Images highlights historical themes and social circumstances of the period addressing the subjects of crime and law enforcement as well as the emerging use of photographic portraits as a police identification tool. Represented in the collection are pickpockets, confidence men, escaped fugitives, shoplifters, horse thieves, burglars, safe blowers and others. These images are compelling, fascinating and thought-provoking.

The opening reception for the exhibit will coincide with the next edition of 'Tuesday Night at the Museum'. On June 21st at 7pm. Dave St. Onge, Curator of Canada's Penitentiary Museum, will speak on prison life in Kingston in the 19th century. The talk, entitled 'Admission & Discharge: The Early History of Federal Penitentiary Mug-shots in Canada' will also identify the practice of record keeping, and difference in methods used by both the federal penitentiaries and regional jails. Dave's talk ties in nicely with the launch of the 'Arresting Images' exhibit.

In addition, visitors to the museum throughout the summer will have the opportunity to have their own mug shots taken, no crime required. This light-hearted interactive display includes an original ‘County Jail’ cell that has been converted to a 'persons of interest' line-up wall. Complete with height markers and crime-boards, visitors can take selfies - or #cellfies - within the cell that can be shared on social media. Select visitor photos will also be displayed at the museum in much the same way as the real criminal mug shots found in the 'Arresting Images' exhibit.

Arresting Images is The OPP Museum’s inaugural travelling exhibition. Initially launched in 2009, it received an Award of Excellence from the Ontario Museum Association for its innovative approach, exhibition design and curatorial quality. The exhibit will be showcased at the L&A County Museum & Archives until December 15th. For more information about Arresting Images display and other exhibits on display at the L&A County Museum & Archives, please visit or call 613-354-3027.

Local Historical Context of the ‘Arresting Images’ Exhibit
The building that houses the Lennox & Addington County Museum & Archives was once the County Gaol (jail). When Lennox & Addington separated from Frontenac in 1863 and Napanee was officially designated the County Town, a new courthouse and gaol were needed to properly fulfill their legislative duties. The gaol, built in 1864, operated until the Quinte Regional Detention Centre opened in 1971. The building continued to serve as the Napanee Town Police lockup until 1974. At that time, it was retrofitted for museum purposes from 1974-1976 and the Museum & Archives officially opened in their new space on October 6, 1976. the ‘Arresting Images’ serves as an ode to the building’s past and recognizes the museum’s 40th anniversary milestone.

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Media is invited to visit the museum to take advance photographs of the ‘Arresting Images’ exhibit and the ‘Mug Shot #Cellfie’ display. For more information, please contact:

JoAnne Himmelman
Curator, Museum & Archives
Lennox & Addington County
T. 613-354-3027

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