In a move to protect the safety of precious and rare art, several museums in America have banned the use of selfie sticks.
What are Selfie Sticks?
Selfie sticks are the latest fad to take over selfie-obsessed takers, but now it seems that these trendy accessories are causing a whole lot of trouble. The sticks, which allow people to take selfies from a distance, are being banned on the grounds that they could cause a serious injury.
The selfie sticks are extendable smartphone devices and can reach up to one meter in length. However, despite their growing popularity, some museums are prohibiting their use in order to protect visitors’ safety.
Why Selfie Sticks are been banned
It appears that well-meaning managers believe that selfie takers, who brandish these sticks about, could pose a real danger to other visitors to their establishments.
Many major art museums have taken the unprecedented step of banning them. This is despite the fact that taking pictures of art is positively encouraged.
One museum officer, from New York’s Metropolitan’s Museum of Art, explained why:
“I am pro-selfie, just not pro-selfie stick. I’m worried about visitor safety and protecting our art,” Sree Sreenivasan told Mashable.
Other museums, such as Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and ‘enclosed spaces’ in California’s Getty Center have followed suit.
Not all art establishments are convinced of the problem however. The Met is undecided as to whether it should allow selfie sticks to be used, whilst others, such as the MoMA states:
“We have never permitted visitors to take photos with camera-extension devices,” a MoMA spokeswoman said. “Tripods, selfie-sticks and other devices are not permitted.”
Of course, it is not just the dangers of selfie sticks that museum staff have to worry about. A woman was visiting the Met in 2010 and managed to fall, causing a 6 inch tear in Pablo Picasso’s The Actor painting.
And in the UK in 2006, a visitor to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, also fell and smashed three Chinese Qing vases. Also in 2006, Gaston Lachaise’s bronze Standing Woman statue at the Milwaukee Art Museum was ‘groped and vomited upon’ during a party that occurred after the museum had closed.
Popularity of Selfie Sticks
The popularity for the selfie stick began to grow after it first appeared in Asia a few years back. Since then, even celebrities have taken to using the stick. The most famous selfie taken with a selfie stick was Ellen De Generes at the Oscars. This selfie has broken all records to become the most retweeted message ever, having been forwarded over 2 million times.
Other places selfie stick has been banned
The selfie stick is now one of the worlds’ most popular gadgets, and a common sight, carried globally by tourists everywhere.
In the UK, several establishments have already banned the selfie stick, with Britain’s largest indoor venue, London’s O2 arena prohibiting them for health and safety reasons.
Still in England, some Premier League soccer clubs are worried that the stick could be used for fighting in the crowds. In fact, one such club – Arsenal, has banned the sticks from January from their Emirates Stadium in London:
“It was viewed that the selfie sticks can be used as an offence weapon,” said Elaine Sigrist of Arsenal Football Club.
But the biggest ban has to be South Korea, who has banned the use of them for possible side effects of ‘Bluetooth interference‘.
Although public opinion may be with the museums, with a recent poll citing 79% in favor of a ban, the sale of selfie sticks show no sign of losing popularity, with orders for them exceeding last years.