Monday, January 30, 2006; Posted: 8:57 a.m. EST (13:57 GMT)
CAMBRIDGE, England (AP) -- A museum visitor shattered three Qing dynasty Chinese vases when he tripped on his shoelace, stumbled down a stairway and brought the vases crashing to the floor, officials said Monday.
The three vases, dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, had been donated to The Fitzwilliam Museum in the university city of Cambridge in 1948, and were among its best-known artifacts. They had been sitting proudly on the window sill beside the staircase for 40 years.
"It was a most unfortunate and regrettable accident, but we are glad that the visitor involved was able to leave the museum unharmed," said Duncan Robinson, the Fitzwilliam's director.
The museum declined to identify the man who had tripped on a loose shoelace Wednesday.
Asked about the porcelain vases, Margaret Greeves, the museum's assistant director, said: "They are in very, very small pieces, but we are determined to put them back together."
The museum declined to say what the vases were worth.
Niiiicce. Good going, moron. I'm always amazed that this sort of thing dosen't happen more often. From what I recall going to various museums, there's often not all that much protection around various displays that a really good trip and fall couldn't wreck a lot of them. Placing, I'm assuming, expensive and delicate vases on a windowsill was probaly asking for it though. It would have been funny if they had tried to bill the guy for the restoration or the value of the artifact outright. As he's walking out the door he gets a bill for 1.2 million dollars or something. Most expensive museum trip EVER. If they managed to catch it on survellance camera they should take the video and make a mastercard ad out of it.
Ticket to the museum: $10
Replacment shoelace: $1
Tripping and destroying 3 Qing vases? Priceless.