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Shanghai Museum holds "Cat-Friendly Night"
China Daily
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Shanghai Museum holds "Cat-Friendly Night"

The Shanghai Museum announced groundbreaking plans on July 8 for cat-friendly sessions for the upcoming exhibition On Top of the Pyramid: The Civilization of Ancient Egypt, which may give cat lovers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a night safari at the museum with their furry friends.

The exhibition, opening on July 18, will be the largest showcase of Egyptian art in China. The first exhibition of ancient Egyptian art curated by Chinese scholars and researchers, it will run for 13 months and features 788 objects selected from the collection of seven Egyptian museums and archaeological institutions. Among the highlights of the exhibition will be artifacts unearthed from the Saqqara site near Cairo, where ruins of a temple dedicated to Bastet, a cat deity dating back to 600 BC, were discovered.

"In ancient Egypt, Bastet was widely recognized as a symbol for spirituality and protection," said Chu Xiaobo, director of the Shanghai Museum. "The Egyptian admiration for Bastet goes beyond time and space, coincidental to people's fondness for the feline companion today. As part of the new initiatives for the exhibition, we have decided to host regular evening sessions for cat lovers on 10 consecutive Saturday evenings, starting on July 27."

While visiting the exhibition, attendees will be able to take photos with their pets in the specially designed Cat Temple area of the Secrets of Saqqara exhibition hall. They can also enjoy activities such as "Traveling through Egypt with Pets", "Taking Photos with a Giant Cat Sculpture", "Interactive Cat Paws", and "Cat Paw Messages".

Each participant will receive an exclusive customized "Meow Night" limited edition fridge magnet. Attendees who bring their pet cats will have the chance to receive special cat-themed cultural gifts and experience the blessings of an ancient civilization.

It will be a first for any museum in the world, and the Shanghai Museum has "consulted professionals, done extensive research and taken all possible measures to ensure the safety of the cultural relics and a good experience for the museum visitors", Chu said.

The Shanghai Museum will cap the number of visitors for the cat-friendly Saturday night sessions at 2,000, about half the quota for previous evening sessions. Not everyone can bring a cat though, as the museum set the cap for feline visitors at 200 for each session.

"We will have an insurance policy for each of the cats, and there will be medical staff, vets and other pet professionals on standby during the evening," Chu said. "In case a cat runs off, well-trained professionals with adequate tools will be able to catch it in time."

Other facilities, such as pet strollers, sedatives for stressed cats, and a depository for cats, will be available.

"We will have the exhibition space properly cleaned and disinfected afterward, so that the next morning visitors coming in will not have to worry about allergies or any other health problems," said Li Feng, deputy director of the museum.

The museum is also working with airlines, trying to facilitate the introduction of pet-friendly flights.

"This may be a bit too complicated, and for now we recommend checking your cat in the cargo hold if you want to travel from other cities to Shanghai with your cat," Li said.

Aside from the cat-friendly sessions, the Shanghai Museum will collaborate with tourism and high-technology companies to introduce an Egypt-themed tour on the Huangpu River and an immersive expedition that takes people on a virtual journey to ancient Egypt. It will also market more than 1,000 new pieces of merchandise featuring Egyptian art and culture.
 

China DailyShen Yi

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