Waiter Breaks Priceless Statue During Museum Catering Job

Courtesy of The British Museum

By Gillie Houston Posted October 28, 2016

The statue is considered one of the British Museum's most important Roman sculptures.

In potentially the most embarrassing workplace snafu ever, one waiter working a high-end catering gig at the British Museum managed to damage an ancient Roman statue—with his head.

During preparation for a corporate party at the art museum, which frequently rents out its galleries for events, one staff member broke the thumb off of the priceless Townley Venus statue when he shot up after kneeling beneath the sculpture. The waiter's head hit the hand with such force that he managed to knock a finger clean off, The Telegraph reports.

The statue, which was discovered in Rome in 1775 and sold to the museum in 1805, is considered "one of the British Museum's most important Roman sculptures," according to The Art Newspaper.

Though the repair of the statue was reportedly fairly quick and easy— museum workers were able to reattach the finger while the gallery was closed—a spokesperson for the British Museum says they "have taken the incident seriously and have retrained all individuals responsible for events." Though the incident occurred late last year, museum trustees were only informed of the damage to the sculpture at a meeting months later.

Following the incident, the catering company–  which was an external hire new to working with the museum– has not been invited back. According to the spokesperson, "The preservation of the collection is of fundamental importance," adding that all staff moving forward will be trained and "fully practiced on moving themselves around historical objects."

While the hard-headed worker likely didn't earn any cater waiter street cred from the incident, he isn't alone in his crimes against the art world—a finger off of the same hand was knocked off by another visitor in 2012.

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