Last May, a tourist tripped in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum on the island of Crete. To break her fall, she grabbed hold of the closest thing to her: a 4,000-year-old Minoan pithos. Both she and the pithos fell to the ground. The tourist suffered minor injuries to her legs, and the pithos lay shattered on the floor.
This is not the first time—nor will it be the last—that a tourist has damaged an artifact on display at a museum. It is one of the dangers of making treasures available to the public, but the pros are considered to far outweigh the cons.
While the tourist received attentions from medics, the pithos was taken to the museum’s conservation professionals. Within a week, they had restored the pithos and returned it to its exhibition.