Smithsonian Institution bans the selfie stick

The Smithsonian Institution has banned the use of the selfie stick at its 19 museums and galleries, following a huge surge in the popularity of the device in the last few years.

Most popular museums have already banned selfie sticks in line with the ban on tripods and monopods, all not allowed as they can cause trouble in a crowded environment.

“This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions,” wrote the Smithsonian in a statement. “We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences – and leave the selfie sticks in their bags.”

The Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum banned the selfie-stick last month, and both the New York Museum of Sex and the Museum of Modern Art banned the stick in 2014.

Selfie sticks attach to a smartphone and allow mobile users to take photos from a further distance. Most public places are banning the use of the stick, claiming it is a threat to the safety of visitors.

In South Korea, the ban goes even further than public buildings. Anyone caught using a selfie stick in public is fined, and sellers of the equipment are fined as well. South Korea was one of the most prominent buyers of selfie-sticks before they were outlawed.

The demand for the selfie stick comes as more focus is put on the front-facing camera on smartphones, with some of the newer smartphones featuring cameras over 5-megapixels with technology normally only available on the rear camera.