“Be careful, do not touch.” A phrase often repeated, not taken seriously, but which has meaning. Because the damage happened quickly: on May 30, at the Shanghai Glass Museum, two little Chinese broke an exceptional Disney glass castle, estimated at 450,000 yuan ($ 64,000).
When the carefree children climbed over the security gates and clumsily knocked on the display case of the artwork, part of the model fell and shattered.
The 60 kg glass sculpture required more than 500 hours of work from its author, Miguel Arribas, nephew of the founders of the Arribas Brothers company, glassblowers specializing in Disney objects. It has been part of the museum’s permanent collection since 2016, when the Shanghai Disney Resort was inaugurated.
With its 30,000 meticulously crafted and assembled pieces, the work was considered the largest glass castle sculpture in the world.
Contacted by the museum, the Arribas Brothers company pledged to repair the castle, but because of the coronavirus, its artist, based in the United States, cannot travel to China to restore the structure immediately. It therefore remains amputated in the window.
In a statement published on July 10 on Weibo, China’s main social network, the management of the Shanghai Glass Museum apologized for leaving the castle in a state of repair. “imperfect” in front of the visitors while waiting for it to be repaired and calls for the good citizenship of the public in the establishment.
The museum does not specify whether the families of the two children will have to participate financially in the repair of the work, but it does indicate that the mongers “Sympathetic and sincere” were “Ready to help with follow-up questions”: “The little visitors knew their behavior was inappropriate and under the encouragement of their parents reported the incident to museum staff.”
The museum’s post, however, sparked a lot of reactions on Weibo. Most Internet users ask parents to pay the establishment compensation. Because this is not the first time that such an accident has taken place in the Shanghai Glass Museum. In 2013, two other reckless children destroyed a glass sculpture, in front of their parents who were filming the scene with their smartphones. Unfortunately the magic of Disney does not operate to turn broken glass into masterpieces.