Smithsonian Bans Use But Not Possession of Selfie Sticks

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After having my selfie stick taken at the Taj Mahal (that or waste time trekking 1.2 miles to the lockers and back) last week, I’m now particularly alert to news of museums and other attractions banning them.

Yesterday the Smithsonian announced that the use of selfie sticks in all their museums is prohibited (h/t Dan).

I’m not challenging the right of any place to prohibit the use or possession of various articles, but for tourist attractions I think transparency and convenience is key. Here’s how the Smithsonian’s new policy got it right (and places like the Taj Mahal have it wrong.

1. The policy is clearly stated on their website.

Smithsonian selfie stick policy

2. They prohibit the use but not the possession of the banned items, alleviating the burden on site-seers who are visiting various locations that day and may not have the luxury of storing things in a secure off-site location (bolding mine).

We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share
experiences—and leave the selfie sticks in their bags.

This policy is the same as museums that prohibit photography but still allow you to carry cameras on your person.

3. They provide convenient on-site lockers, not expecting visitors to travel .6 miles in each direction to stow items not listed on the banned list like they do at the Taj Mahal.

Smithsonian museum locker locations

I don’t really care if I can use my selfie stick or not, and while I like to be able to take pictures, I’m fine with not being able to bring a camera.

All I want, particularly at places where I’m paying a high cost for admittance, is clarity on what’s permitted and preferably an easy way to meet the guidelines (such as a secure locker).


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