On Tuesday, the National Watch and Clock Museum, located in Columbia, Pennsylvania, posted a video to Youtube titled “Please Don't Touch!!!”
Taken from the museum’s security footage, the video shows a man and woman approach a wooden clock sculpture in one of the museum’s exhibitions. After taking a photo, the man approaches the clock, first tugging one part, then yanking another
After the man pulls and presses parts of the sculpture, seemingly in an attempt to get the clock to run, the clock falls off the wall completely, partially smashing on the ground despite the man’s attempt to catch it.
While the woman picks up smaller pieces of the clock that have fallen on the ground, the man tries in vain to place the broken sculpture back on the wall. Eventually, he places the crumpled mess on the floor, and appears to leave the exhibit.
“This is why we beg and plead with our visitors to please refrain from touching objects in museums,” read the video’s description on Youtube.
To their credit, the video’s description said that the couple notified the museum immediately after the incident.
The clock, which was made by Minnesota-based artist James Borden, had hung in the museum for more than 20 years.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the museum isn’t pressing charges and didn’t try to identify the man or the woman. While comments were disabled on the original Youtube posting from the museum, discussions on Reddit and comments on Youtube repostings included a variety of racist comments aimed toward the couple.
“Posting the video is not an effort on our part to shame anyone,” museum director Noel Poirier told the Star Tribune. “We did not want them to feel bad or persecuted as a result. We want to use [the video] to educate. When you come to a museum, play by the rules.”
Poirier wouldn’t reveal how much the clock is worth, and said that thought it was damaged in the fall, it was “not beyond repair.” Artist James Borden has reportedly agreed to fix the clock for the museum.
“Folks that work in museums typically tell you that it’s the adults you have to worry about more than the kids,” Poirier told PennLive. “It seems that the adults feel a little more entitlement to touch things.”