Selfie sticks are not only a socially dubious practice, but now, according to the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum, they’re also potentially hazardous to art.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is joining prominent museums like New York’s Modern Museum of Art and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in enacting a ban on the sticks, citing concerns over the safety of the art.
At their core, selfie sticks pragmatically allow people to take pictures of themselves without getting their arms in the photo. But the vantage point they offer has now turned trendy, resulting in people opting to use the stick even when others are around to take a photo.
“Like tripods and monopods, the use of selfie sticks is prohibited at the Hirshhorn to preserve the safety of the artwork and the visitors who come to enjoy it,” Hirshhorn Museum spokeswoman Kelly Carnes wrote in an email. News of the Hirshhorn’s selfie ban was first reported by WJLA.
No art affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution has fallen victim to a selfie stick yet, but an institution-wide ban on the accessory du jour could follow in the coming months. The Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York City already prohibits them.
“We will have a policy on this no doubt, and it will probably be that we don’t want them … they’re just too much of a risk,” said Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas.
The new policy will likely arrive before the spring tourists arrive in D.C. Carnes said selfie sticks will not be confiscated at the Hirshhorn; security will just ask visitors not to use them in the museum.