Family Damages 800-Year-Old Coffin By Putting A Child Inside It

Photo: Philip Sayer/Alamy Stock Photo.
A family damaged an 800-year-old coffin displayed at the museum Prittlewell Priory in Southend-on-Sea, U.K., after putting a child inside of it to take photos.
On Sunday, a piece of the sandstone coffin broke off after the family used it for a photo opportunity, reports The New York Times. They left without reporting the damage, but it was discovered later.
There are closed-circuit TV cameras in the museum, but they didn't clearly capture what happened, according to the NYT.
The Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, which owns and operates the museum, said in a statement that it has ordered repairs of the coffin, which will cost about $130. The council has the broken-off shard in its possession, and a conservator will reattach it with "special adhesives."
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time people have damaged a valuable artwork or artifact in order to take a photo. Part of the reason is that modern humans seek to document themselves as participants in every experience they have, rather than just observe the experience, Wayne J. LaBar, president of the board of the National Association for Museum Exhibition, told the NYT.
"Nowadays, everything is a photo opportunity," he said. "Things are designed for me to be a participant and not just an observer."
In February, a visitor who was attempting to take a selfie fell into a glass "pumpkin patch" that was part of the exhibition Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and broke one of them. In 2016, two children were playing with a sculpture at the Shanghai Museum of Glass — while their parents recorded them. The sculpture broke when one of the kids pulled it away from the wall.
The list goes on. Perhaps, it's time to stop going to museums for the 'gram and use them for what they were originally intended — that whole "learning" thing.

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