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Security cameras capture museum mayhem

Security cameras see everything, even the most cringe-worthy moments we can imagine.
There are few ideas more horrifying to a lover or art or history than the destruction of a priceless, irreplaceable object. Even worse than that is the idea that a museum visitor would damage an object on display in a museum.

And worst of all? If the act is caught on video.

In recent weeks, an art installation in Los Angeles suffered an estimated $200,000 in damage when a visitor inadvertently knocked over a pedestal while crouching down to snap a selfie. The unintentional nudge set of a domino effect, which several pedestals toppling in succession and the crowns they held tumbling to the floor. The incident was caught on security video.

Simon Burch, the artist who created the installation, waxed philosophical about the mishap. “Crowns are fragile things. They are symbols of power. Perhaps it’s ironic and meaningful that they fell,” said Birch.

Museum staff at the National Watch and Clock Museum, in Columbia, Pennsylvania were less sanguine about the loss of a priceless, one of a kind modern clock which was knocked off the wall by visitors attempting to make it move.

“This is why we beg and plead with our visitors to please refrain from touching objects in museums,” said museum staffers.

The visitors did notify staff of the mishap.

In some cases, however, museum visitors are not terribly bothered that their bad behavior might destroy something that cannot be replaced.

Two children visiting an art museum in Shanghai, China gleefully ripped the wings off an installation called “Angel is Waiting” in the Shanghai Museum of Glass. Rather than removing the children from the exhibit area – they were clearly beyond rope barriers intended to keep them away from the work, two adults accompanying the children appeared to be videoing them as they slammed the work against the wall.
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