Museum bans clumsy visitor

Posted on March 24, 2006 

Museum bans clumsy visitor

A museum has banned a visitor who accidentally smashed a set of rare 300-year-old Chinese vases after tripping on his shoelaces.

Nick Flynn, a regular visitor of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, told BBC radio he received a letter from directors asking him not to come back.

The 42-year-old, who tripped as he came down a flight of stairs, causing £100,000 of damage, said: “It was just a regrettable accident.

“I snagged my shoelace, missed the step and crash, bang, wallop, there were a million pieces of high-quality Qing ceramics lying around underneath me.

“I suppose that, seeing they were the prize possession of the museum, they were just lying on a window sill… I thought they might take a bit better care of them.”

The three Qing vases, dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, had been at the museum for at least 40 years and were among its best-known artefacts.

After receiving the banning letter from museum director Duncan Robinson, Mr Flynn said: “I think they are a bit embarrassed at the moment, with them being worth such a considerable amount, and there is no way my pocket will stretch to reimburse them for the damage I’ve done.”

Mr Flynn, who is single and receives disability benefit following a bike accident, explained he was still sore after the tumble, which happened last month and that regular staff had not harboured a grudge.

“I think this is just the directors or trustees because they seem to have got egg on their faces,” he said.

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from Ananova

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