As It Happens

Man ignores museum 'no touching' policy, breaks one-of-a-kind clock

When a man at a Pennsylvania museum touched a one-of-a-kind clock, it dropped to the ground. Now, the museum has released the surveillance video in an effort to educate their visitors about the importance of their "no touching" policy.
A clock fell off the wall at the National Watch and Clock Museum in Pennsylvania after a man touched it. (YouTube screenshot/National Watch & Clock Museum)

For one visitor at the U.S. National Watch and Clock Museum, it probably felt like time stopped for a moment. That moment was when he reached out to touch a one-of-a-kind timepiece and it fell to the ground. 

It's all caught on a surveillance video that has been released by the museum. By doing this, the museum hopes to educate its visitors about the importance of their "no touching" policy.

"I think it's important that people and visitors are aware that there's a reason for these policies," says Noel Poirier — the museum's director. "This is certainly a dramatic example of that."


In the video, it might look like the couple fled the scene of the crime after the clock dropped. Poirier, however, says they notified a gallery attendant after the accident.

"They went out and tried to find a staff person to come help them and accumulate the other parts," he says.

I'm not sure why folks really feel an entitlement, at times, to touch things that are not theirs.- Noel Poirier, Director of the National Watch and Clock Museum

Poirier says this isn't an isolated incident. He says visitors touch the clocks at the museum everyday. Typically, the culprits are adults — not kids. He says there are plenty of signs around the museum that read "don't touch."

"I think it's a different kind of setting that a lot of folks aren't used to. But, I'm not sure why folks really feel an entitlement, at times, to touch things that are not theirs."


The clock that broke was created by U.S. artist James Borden. The museum has reached out to Borden since the accident. He has offered to help fix the clock.

"It can be repaired. It's in bits. But, the bits can all be put back together," says Poirier.  



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