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A taste of art and history — in a hurry

“HAVE you visited ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects from the British Museum’?”  This has probably been the most-asked question for the past weeks among local art lovers.

The exhibition has so far attracted more than 110,000 visitors since it opened at the Shanghai Museum at the end of June. Even now in the scorching heat, people still need to line up for at least three hours to get into the exhibition.

Inspired by the highly acclaimed 2010 radio series and book, which was produced in partnership with the BBC and Penguin Books, this exhibition tells one version of an extraordinary story — the history of the world.

Using 100 key objects from the British Museum’s encyclopedic collection, the exhibition highlights remarkable stories revealed through the most humble of objects, such as a tiny stone seal that led to the rediscovery of a lost civilization, and fragments of pottery discarded on a beach in Africa that point to the vast distances travelled by early traders across the Indian Ocean.

The exhibition is so popular that the Shanghai Museum was forced to limit the number of visitors to 8,000 at a time.

The long queue outside the entrance at stretches all the way to the museum’s third floor may put many art lovers off.

But there is something else for those who don’t have the patience or time to wait outside for hours under the scorching sun but who want a taste of – souvenirs.

Li Feng, deputy director of Shanghai Museum, says there are more than 160 souvenirs designed directly from the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum in the United States, Museumsinsel in Berlin and the Shanghai Museum that are available at the local museum, varying from biscuits, jewelry to stationery and toy figures.

About 50 products are developed by the Shanghai Museum.

But what he didn’t expect was that many of them would sell out on the first day of the exhibition.

Xu Jiahe, a 41-year-old white-collar worker, says that she…

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