Utahns got a rare and intimate look into life in the Soviet Union "Through the Eyes of a Child" - an exhibition of Soviet children's photographs, which opened Saturday at the Children's Museum of Utah.

Cutting the ribbon to open the exhibit were members of the official Soviet inspection team, who arrived in Salt Lake earlier this month. The team will be in Utah for up to 13 years inspecting operations at the Hercules plant, where Pershing II missile motors were once built.Their message Saturday was one of peace.

"This is of special importance because of the fact that today's children must be free from all prejudice and mistrust that exists in our generation," Anatoli Samarin, chief of the Soviet inspection team, said through an interpreter. "They will be the generation in whose hands will be the fate of our countries."

Samarin said that through trust and understanding between people of both countries, American and Soviet leaders may find answers to difficult political problems. He expressed hope that the exhibition will give Utahns a "different portrayal" of the Soviet Union.

The exhibition consists of pictures that were taken, developed and printed by 45 school children between the ages of 8 and 18.

Diana Glasgow, director of the US/USSR Citizens Diplomacy Project for the Earthstewards Network, selected the pieces from the 1987 USSR photo exposition, "Discovering the World." The show was a national Soviet children's photography contest.

The pictures could very well have been taken by American kids, who also have pets, grandmas, birthdays, friends, doctors, and vacations. The photos are serious and funny, open and sincere - just like kids themselves.

Although most Utahns will never visit the Soviet Union, the exhibit will help dispel ignorance and mistrust by showing that all members of the community of man have similar hopes and fears, Tom Godfrey, chairman of the Salt Lake City Council, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The exhibition and related workshops will run through Aug. 27. During this time, Utah children are invited to submit up to three of their own photos for possible inclusion in a return photo exhibition to the USSR.

For more information about the American contest and Russian exhibit, call the museum at 322-5268.

Admission to the Children's Museum, located at 840 N. Third West, is $2 for children and adults. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.