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Thousands stop to remember at 2:28pm

THOUSANDS of people will gather at a new museum in Anren town of Dayi County in Sichuan Province today to mourn the victims of last year's earthquake exactly one year after it struck at 2:28pm on May 12.

The museum, which opens today to tell the story of the disaster, had run out of its daily allocation of free tickets by 9am yesterday.

Costing more than 30 million yuan (US$4.4 million), the museum was the brainchild of Fan Jianchuan, a Sichuan native.

The 52-year-old led a team collecting information and exhibition materials about the earthquake just one day after the quake struck. They collected around 5,000 items and held the first exhibition about the disaster on June 12. "A disaster is both a tragedy and a special stage glowing with human stories. It's worth collecting and remembering," Fan said.

In one of the rooms, a clock found in the ruins, stopped at 2:28pm, stands beside a reproduced scene of the disaster. Other items collected from the rubble include students' diaries and an armored money truck crushed flat by boulders.

The museum contains a diary hall and a science hall among its more than 30 exhibition rooms.

One of the most unusual items is a live pig which survived for 36 days under rubble before rescuers discovered it, who is now thriving.


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