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N.M. Eyes Opening Deadly Prison Riot Site As Museum

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File photo of a prison cell block. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a prison cell block. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico may open as a museum the site of the 1980 bloody prison riot.

State Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantal says strong public interest in tours of the closed “Old Main” prison offered during last year’s New Mexico centennial celebration sparked the idea for a permanent museum.

Old Main was closed in 1988, eight years after the February 1980 riot in which inmates killed 33 fellow prisoners in a violent clash that included beheadings, amputations and burned bodies.

Officials say the museum south of Santa Fe could include tours, a restaurant and an inmate-staffed hobby shop.

The planned museum follows a trend in “dark tourism” to transform tragic sites into tourist attractions.

Retired Corrections Capt. Marcella Armijo says any museum needs to be truthful about events there.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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