The National Gallery in London has joined multiple museums around the world in imposing a ban on selfie sticks.
The gallery says it has placed selfie sticks in the same category as tripods, which are banned “in order to protect paintings, individual privacy and the overall visitor experience”.
The selfie stick is an elongated pole on which a camera or mobile phone can be attached to take a better photo.
Sales of the selfie stick have soared since last year and they are now a common sight at tourist sites.
Other British institutions could also follow the ban.
The British Museum has confirmed it is reviewing its policy on selfie sticks.
A spokeswoman said: “The safety of objects and visitors is paramount to the British Museum.”
Selfie sticks are currently allowed at the National Portrait Gallery, but a spokesman said “anything that may prove disruptive is reviewed on an ongoing basis”.
“It is important that all our visitors enjoy their experience at the Gallery.”
The Tate does still allow the use of selfie sticks “provided that users respect fellow visitors and adhere to Tate’s photography policy”.
Earlier this month, the Smithsonian museum group announced it had banned selfie sticks from its 19 museums and galleries in Washington DC.
It followed similar restrictions from museums and galleries in the US including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Modern Museum of Art (MOMA), the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The palace of Versailles was the first museum in Europe to ban the use of selfie sticks and it is expected that The Louvre and the Pompidou centre are likely to follow suit.
The Smithsonian, the largest research and museum group in the world, has banned the selfie stick at Washington’s museums and gardens.
“This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions,” it said in a statement.
The selfie stick allows you a longer reach when using a smartphone or camera to take a picture of yourself.
It first gained popularity in Asia but has lately been condemned by some as annoying when brandished in public.
“We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences and leave the selfie sticks in their bags,” the Smithsonian said.
The new rule – not inspired by any one incident but designed to be preventative – is the first change in years to the Smithsonian’s rules.
“I can’t think of any recent change that’s been similar to this,” spokesman John Gibbons said.
“I don’t think 10 years ago that you could have predicted there would even be such a thing, let alone that it would be so popular.”
The Smithsonian consists of 19 museums and galleries in the US capital, the National Zoological Park and nine research centres. It had more than 28 million visits last year.
The institution, which already prohibits tripods, monopods and large backpacks in its buildings, is not alone in saying no to the new selfie accessory.
Similar restrictions on the tourist item have been enforced at museums and galleries in the US in recent months including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Modern Museum of Art (MOMA), the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Major galleries in Australia have introduced a ban also. And they have been banished from major European football games and music venues.
Most European art institutions, however, have not taken action – the Louvre in Paris and London’s Tate Museums still permit them. They can also be seen at New York’s Museum of Natural History.
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