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Disaster museum set to open doors

THE loudspeaker Premier Wen Jiabao used to encourage earthquake victims, the Coke can that the famous "Coke boy" drank from and a pair of spectacles worn by Run Run Fan will be on display at an earthquake museum expected to open to the public on Monday, one day ahead of the quake's one-year anniversary.

The 6,000-square-meter Wenchuan Earthquake Museum was designed by Li Gang, a Chinese architect who worked on the National Stadium. It has about 30 exhibition halls to record everyday stories from the first 30 days after the earthquake, China News Service reported yesterday.

The 30 million yuan (US$4.39 million) museum, in Sichuan's Dayi County, has collected more than 50,000 items, as well as countless photographs recording the disaster, including the loudspeaker and a piece of a military map Premier Wen Jiabao used during his visit to the disaster areas, plus the Coca-Cola can given to a little boy who asked for a sip of icy Coke when he was pulled from the rubble by rescuers.

Military rubber boats, parachutes and the wreck of a People's Liberation Army helicopter are also in the museum, together with a smashed cash-transport van, student stationery dug from the ruins and a clock stopped forever at 2:28pm.

Items from some well-known figures during the disaster and its aftermath will also be displayed, including a pair of glasses worn by a teacher who ran away but left his students in a classroom when the earthquake hit, and the motorcycle used by a widower to transport his dead wife home for burial.

The glasses were bought by the museum for 234 yuan from Fan Meizhong, the teacher from a high school in Dujiangyan City, who used the money to buy a new pair.

Fan was dubbed "Run Run Fan" because he defended his fleeing his students during the disaster.

The museum also displayed Fan's teaching material for the unforgettable lesson.

A hall at the museum simulates the earthquake and its aftermath for visitors using audio, video, touch and even smell. A harmless gas with the same odor as air emanating from earthquake ruins is pumped into the room.


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