Remember when your parents nagged at you to behave whenever you were in an expensive department store or museum, in fear that you would break something? If you were one to shrug it off and run around anyway, well, be thankful this didn't happen.
On July 10, the Shanghai Museum of Glass said in a post on Chinese microblogging site Weibo that one of their beloved exhibits has been tragically broken by “two little visitors” in May.
Apparently, two children had climbed over the exhibition barriers during a boisterous game and knocked into the glass box encasing a glass castle, causing a portion of the piece to collapse and shatter.
Gifted by the Arribas Brothers, glassblowers that specialise in creating exclusive Disney collectibles, this glass castle has been a permanent exhibit at the Shanghai Museum of Glass since 2016.
Modelled after the iconic Disney castle, the piece had taken its artists 500 hours to create, weighing 60 kilograms, and consisting of over 30,000 components. It’s also adorned with 24-karat gold.
The museum said that they hope the artists, who are based in the United States, can return to Shanghai to repair the masterpiece. But coronavirus-related travel restrictions have put this plan on hold for the foreseeable future.
“We can only display the castle in its ‘imperfect’ state, and we’re sorry if this negatively affects your museum experience,” the museum said.
According to Chinese news outlet The Paper, the glass castle is estimated to be worth 450,000 yuan ($64,000). Considering its value, the museum is taking the incident pretty well.
“The little visitors knew that their behaviour was inappropriate, and, under the encouragement of their parents, reported the incident to the museum staff. Their attitudes were friendly and sincere, and they agreed to help out with follow-up matters,” reads a Weibo comment by the museum.
“This makes us touched, and we believe that the future generation will be good visitors.”
But this incident has sparked outrage among Chinese netizens, many of whom are demanding that the parents fork out money for the damaged artwork.
“The parents should compensate the full amount. They have to pay the price for not disciplining naughty kids,” commented one Weibo user.
“Who are these rascals? Don’t they have any manners?” said another.
In China, spoiled kids are called “little emperors.” Many believe the country now has a lot of of these little emperors because of its decades-long one-child policy. While the one-child policy has been eased in recent years, many parents remain reluctant to have more than one child.
In 2013, another exhibit suffered a similar fate in the hands of mischievous children. The glass installation by Chinese artist Shelly Xue, titled “Angel is Waiting,” featured a pair of wings which had taken Xue more than two years to craft. Parts of the wings were intentionally ripped off the wall by two children who had trespassed the exhibit barrier, while their parents took delight in snapping photos of them.
The damaged artwork has since been renamed “Broken,” a tragic reminder for visitors to respect museum exhibits.