An 800-year old coffin on display at Prittlewell Priory Museum in Southend, Essex in England, was damaged on August 4 when a child was placed inside it to pose for a photograph.
The ancient piece was unintentionally knocked off its stand and broken after the child was lifted over a protective barrier.
The family left the museum without reporting the damage, leaving staff to discover it for themselves. The incident, however, was caught on CCTV.
“The care of our collections is of paramount importance to us and this isolated incident has been upsetting for the museum’s service, whose staff strive to protect Southend’s heritage within our historic sites,” said Claire Reed, a conservator responsible for repairing the casket.
“My priority is to carefully carry out the treatment needed to restore this significant artefact so it can continue to be part of the fascinating story of Prittlewell Priory.”
The coffin was found in the grounds of the priory in 1921 complete with a skeleton that could have been a senior monk. The priory was founded by Cluniac monks in the 13th century and at its peak had as many as 100 monks living there.
“It’s a very important artefact and historically unique to us as we don’t have much archaeology from the priory,” said Reed.
The council has predicted that the repairs will cost well under £100. The coffin will now be completely enclosed so to prevent future damage.
The council have reminded visitors that they should observe and respect barriers and signs in place that are there to protect the important heritage and history of the local area.
The sandstone casket that was damaged is the last of its kind.
The story originally appeared on the Guardian.
The post Museum visitor damages 800-year-old coffin for a photo appeared first on The Express Tribune.