Sarcophagus / toddler
In August 2017, an 800-year-old coffin was damaged while on view at the Prittlewell Priory Museum in Southend, Essex, England. While visiting the museum, a couple placed their child over an exhibit barrier and inside the ancient sandstone structure in the hopes of snapping a morbid photo. As a result, part of the sarcophagus—which was already in three pieces—fell to the floor, and an additional piece broke away.
The family fled the scene without reporting the damage but were caught on the museum’s security camera. Museum officials are currently assessing the damage.
Said the museum’s conservator: “You can put all the risk assessments in place but you really don’t expect people to try to get into the artifacts.”