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We Have No Barrier In Asking You To Leave

, , , , | Right | September 30, 2021

I work as an interpreter at the house of a very famous historic individual. Not all the furniture in the house was owned by that historic individual, but those pieces that were are both valuable and fragile. There are barrier bars that keep people away from them, but as the interpreter, I am on the protected side of the barrier. It is a small house, but it is often filled with quite a few people because it is a popular tourist stop. While talking to visitors in one room, I’d have to keep an eye on another room, too, and, through a small, 250-year-old doorway, it wasn’t a perfect line of sight. 

In particular, I had to watch out for kids, as they could slip under the barrier. Once, while I was talking to a mother in room one, we both noticed that her three-year-old had disappeared. Rushing into the other room, we found that he had gone under the barrier, politely taken his shoes off, and crawled into the bed. I got him out of there, assuring the mother that the bed was a replica, but the little guy got an appropriate talking-to from mom. This was the normal way that went.

However, once, while I was talking to visitors in room one, I could see a woman in room two motioning at the barrier and talking, holding a camera. Photography was prohibited there, so that was already a problem, so I excused myself from the other visitors and rushed over. What I found is a sad-looking kid past the barrier, sitting in the famous person’s authentic and fragile rocking chair, as the mother tried to get the girl to pose for a photo. From what the mother was saying, it was clear she sent the girl under the barrier for the photo.

With an “Oh, no!”, I gently lifted the girl out of the rocking chair and set her on the other side of the barrier with her mother. As I started to explain the obvious, that the warnings to not touch were serious, the mother proceeded to yell at me for touching her child — a child she couldn’t reach because of the barrier. I’m a gentle mommy-aged woman. She really, really yelled. I asked her to try and imagine how much money she’d be on the hook for if the chair had broken, but the yelling continued and I had to insist that she leave. The other visitors did not mince words about how they felt about how that person conducted herself. 

Outside, she yelled until my boss appeared who, of course, told the woman who sent her child under museum barriers, past no touching signs, when staff were in another room, only to freak out at getting caught, to leave.

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