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Visitor trips over shoelace at British museum, shatters Chinese vases

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Jan 30th, 2006, 11:11 PM
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Visitor trips over shoelace at British museum, shatters Chinese vases

A visitor to a British museum tripped on his shoelace, stumbled down a stairway and fell into a display of centuries-old Chinese vases, shattering them into "very small pieces," officials said Monday.

http://usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2006-01-30-museum-mishap_x.htm
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Jan 30th, 2006, 11:17 PM
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What McNews doesn't report is the reaction of the museum authorities:

"Whilst the method of displaying objects is always under review, it is important not to over-react and make the Museum's collections less accessible to the visiting public."

Sanity!
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Jan 31st, 2006, 01:18 AM
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Oh well, what the heck. They were old anyway.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 01:23 AM
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"The museum declined to identify the man who tripped on a loose shoelace Wednesday".

They finally identified the man to the public when they found out his past history of destruction.
He is an American by the name of Clark W. Griswold Jr. .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_Griswold Regards, Walter
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Jan 31st, 2006, 01:44 AM
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Here's an overview of some similar mishaps:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/featu...698609,00.html

(they would have to be Qing vases - pronounced Ching - wouldn't they?)
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Jan 31st, 2006, 01:45 AM
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Oh, and the news value seems to come from the fact that someone had a mobile phone camera to hand before they cleared it up..
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Jan 31st, 2006, 02:57 AM
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There was similar incident with a very large glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly. An older visitor tried to step over the velvet rope to get a closer look, tripped and as she was falling, grabbed at the glass and it broke into a zillion pieces. Chihuly was gracious about it, saying if he wanted every piece to last forever, he'd work with plastic instead of glass.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 03:21 AM
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Poor him - as I recall, someone at the V&A managed to break one of his smaller pieces while preparing the big exhibition there a couple of years ago.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 04:24 AM
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Although the woman in that instance was clearly at fault (she tried to get past the barrier rope), the museum, insurance company and Mr. Chihuly decided to just let the whole thing drop (so to speak). The piece was valued at about $150,000 but the woman was in her 70s and the "offended" parties didn't want to hound an otherwise nice, law-abiding grandma for one (albeit stupid) mistake.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 04:04 PM
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Having been to the Fitzwilliam Museum several times I just happen to remember the placement of those vases at the bottom of the stairs. It was taking a chance putting them there although it was quite a fluke that someone would fall that far. Perhaps it's obnoxious but I always call a person's attention to an untied shoelace, be he/her child or adult.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 04:11 PM
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If that happened in the US, the person who tripped would probably sue the museum.
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Apr 20th, 2006, 03:06 AM
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To update this thread, the man who tripped over the vase was arrested in early April on charges of "suspicion of criminal damage" directly relating to the event. The article doesn't say whether the museum authorities were involved in the decision to arrest Mr. Flynn.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/c...re/4878850.stm
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Apr 20th, 2006, 03:08 AM
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Or rather, the man who tripped over his shoelace and fell into the display.
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Apr 20th, 2006, 03:10 AM
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And they are trying to stick the bits together again..
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Apr 20th, 2006, 03:20 AM
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P_M, that was exactly what I thought!
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Apr 20th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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Criminal Charges???

Fine, sue the man, but why arrest him?
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Apr 20th, 2006, 04:48 AM
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The implication is that it was deliberate.
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Aug 8th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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Humpty Dumpty has been restored:

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/stor...839252,00.html

And the man who fell didn't face charges in the end:
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/7days...805295,00.html
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Aug 8th, 2006, 05:21 AM
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basically the story goes museum puts up grand display of priceless Qing vases (once unfashionable, now approaching Ming dynasty values). Senior American visitor trips on his shoelaces down steps and manages to wipe out 5 large vases at the bottom of the stairs, 'passerby' manages to video it on mobile phone (and how did he do that??). Museum gallantly refuses to press charges or reparations bill, all it asks is the man be barred.
Months later it holds special evening where the same vases, now meticulously restored, with a whole vat of glue are displayed, same trip-happy man suddenly appears at the media event, like daisy after rain. The museum once again barrs him, calling in a bouncer.

Later on police investigation it appears the man in the video is very obviously tripping himself down a whole flight of steps, crossing a floor and floundering stupidly into one vase after another. Also he has a history of such mishaps.

Charges are made but later dropped due to lack of hard evidence.

This brings to mind that Irish nutjob who jumped onto the lead marathon man at the Athens olympics - the Brazilian guy who'd been leading for the past dozen miles and lost his medals sprawled on the ground by manic ex-priest dressed as a nun? was it. It was horrific for the poor Greeks who had to deal with the 'security' fallout (how on earth can you stop that happening on a barriered route freely lined with thousands of wellwishers), not to mention that poor athlete whos lifes wok was pretty much sent down the drain.
Also this nutter had a history of similar offences.
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Aug 8th, 2006, 05:35 AM
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Whatever the real story behind the man who tripped, major kudos to Penny Bendall who put the vases back together again. Her account of the repair process in the Guardian article shows reserves of patience and perseverance far deeper than mine!
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