By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Franklin Institute is lifting the curtain on the world of espionage and spying with a new exhibit, opening Saturday.

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It’s the hidden and secret world behind tomorrow’s headlines.

That’s how Keith Melton (below right), an intelligence historian and the man behind “Spy: The Exhibit, The Secret World of Espionage” describes the world of intelligence gathering.

(Keith Melton stands behind a display case containing the climbing axe used to assassinate Leon Trotsky.  Credit: Mark Abrams)

(Keith Melton stands behind a display case containing the climbing axe used to assassinate Leon Trotsky. Credit: Mark Abrams)

“We show you the gadgets, we show you the secret cameras, the listening devices. And this is how intelligence is gathered, it’s collected, it’s communicated, and it’s used.”

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Melton says espionage traces its American roots all the way back to Philadelphia, where Benjamin Franklin participated with the other Founding Fathers in establishing the first national secret intelligence council in 1775.

“Spying is not only the second oldest profession, but it’s probably more important today than at any point in history,” Melton tells KYW Newsradio.

The exhibit features World War II, Cold War era, and contemporary intelligence machinery and techniques.

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