Timely reminder: Don’t touch! Video shows museum clock fall

OLUMBIA, Pa. (AP) — The forgiving folks at the National Watch & Clock Museum have a timely reminder for visitors: Don’t touch.

The museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania, shared surveillance video of a man who couldn’t resist touching a sculpted, wooden clock on Tuesday. The clock then fell off the wall, breaking into many pieces, as the befuddled patron swiftly walked away, apparently hoping he wouldn’t be noticed.

“We cringe every time something like this happens,” museum director Noel Poirier said.

The museum isn’t pressing charges and didn’t try to identify the man or the woman he was with.

“Posting the video is not an effort on our part to shame anyone,” Poirier said. “We did not want them to feel bad or persecuted as a result. We want to use (the video) to educate. When you come to a museum, play by the rules.”

The clock was made by Minnesota artist and clockmaker James Borden and has hung in the museum for more than 20 years. Its design won a national award in 1994.

Poirier wouldn’t say how much the clock is worth. He said it was damaged in the fall, though “not beyond repair.” Borden has agreed to fix the clock for the museum, “so it’s not the end of the world,” Poirier said Thursday.

The clock doesn’t always run because of its design, which is more sculpture than clock, but Poirier is happy to set the device in motion if asked.

Although the museum has displays that are hands-on, they’re clearly labeled, Poirier said.

“We have more problems with adults than we do with children,” he said. “Adults seem to feel slightly more entitled to touch things.”

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