Aug. 24 (UPI) -- An 800-year-old coffin at a museum in England was damaged after a family placed their child inside of it for a photo.
The Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said the coffin, on display at Prittlell Priory museum, has always been in three pieces, but sustained minor damage to a crack near the front after being knocked off its stand.
"The care of our collections is of paramount importance to us and this isolated incident has been upsetting for the museums service, whose staff strive to protect Southend's heritage for the benefit of our visitors and enrichment of their experience within our historic sites," Claire Reed, Conservator for the Council's museums and galleries service, said.
After attempting to lift the child over the protective barrier and knocking over the coffin, the family left the busy museum without reporting the damage.
There are CCTV cameras in the area, but they were unable to capture clear footage of the incident that occured on Aug. 20.
The sandstone coffin was found in the grounds of the priory in 1921, and has been on display ever since.
Repairs are expected to cost about $130, as the council's in-house conservator will use special adhesives to reattach the broken piece.
"My priority as museums conservator, is to carefully carry out the treatment needed to restore this significant artefact so it can continue to be part of the fascinating story of Prittlewell Priory," Reed said.
The exhibit has been closed while the coffin is under repair, but is expected to open as soon as possible.
"In the meantime we would like to remind all visitors that they should observe and respect any barriers and signs in place that are there to protect our important heritage and history," Executive Councillor for Culture Ann Holland said.