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Eastern State Penitentiary Displays Artifacts In Pop-Up Museum

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Dozens of artifacts that tell the more than 140 years of prison life at Eastern Sate Penitentiary in Fairmount are temporarily on display at the historic site.

The exhibit, called "Pop-up Museum: Walls Make Good Neighbors" runs Friday through April 8.

As you enter the employee conference room turned gallery, you see a silent film on the far wall showing the media and a huge crowd waiting for the release of famous gangster al Capone in 1930.

"You see a man who is Capone's stature leaving the prison and all of these people rush him but we know that's not actually Capone," said Annie Anderson, who oversees Research and Public Programming at Eastern State.

She says Capone was secretly released the day before.

There are also pictures, like one of inmates performing in a Christmas radio broadcast that aired on KYW in 1938.

Gifts made by inmates are in cases, like a velvet pin cushion in shape of a woman's shoe.

"There was a curio shop in the front gate house and neighbors and prison employees would stop by and purchase these items as gifts and mementos for their loved ones," Anderson explained.

Eastern State is a stabilized ruin, so a lot of its rare artifacts can not be displayed long-term because of the lack of temperature and lighting control.

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