Banned in some countries, selfie sticks are allowed in National Heritage Board museums

SINGAPORE - Selfie sticks, banned by some museums around the world, are allowed in museums in Singapore, the National Heritage Board (NHB) has said.

Selfie sticks are the hugely popular extending rods onto which a smartphone or camera can be fitted to provide a better angle for a self-portrait. Some museums ban them to prevent possible hazards to visitors and artworks.

A NHB spokesman told The Straits Times that the National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, Peranakan Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum, Reflections at Bukit Chandu and Our Museum @ Taman Jurong do not not have a selfie stick ban in place.

There are no plans to impose such a ban either.

"Photography is generally allowed except in cases of copyright or other requirements from lenders," the spokesman said. "As with all photography equipment, we trust that users would be mindful of other visitors when taking photos and not interfere with objects on display."

But selfie lovers have less luck when it comes to other museums around the world. Here is a list of other places that have decided against the sticks.

1. National Gallery of London

The gallery, which carries works from painters like Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt, will not be allowing selfie sticks from March 11.

"Due to the recent popularity of selfie sticks, the National Gallery preferred to take precautionary measures," said a spokesman, according to an AFP report on March 11.

The gallery became the first major London museum to stop the usage of selfie sticks.

2. National Portrait Gallery of Canberra

The Canberra Times reported on Feb 16 that Australian gallery National Portrait Gallery of Canberra in Australia decided to pre-emptively disallow the use of selfie sticks in display spaces.

A spokesman for the gallery, which carries paintings and photographs of people, said that the stick had not caused problems in the gallery.

3. Palace of Versailles of Paris

Paris museums are moving towards restricting the use of selfie sticks, AFP reported on March 7. Inside the famous Palace of Versailles, guards are telling visitors to put away the rod. A formal rule that prohibits the stick is expected soon.

The management of The Louvre - the world's most visited museum - is watching warily as people wave the selfie sticks within centimetres of priceless paintings, the report said. It has not, however, imposed a ban yet. A spokesman was quoted in the AFP report as saying that "their use must respect the rules", which include not pointing objects at the paintings or sculptures.

4. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington

The museum in the United States says on its website that it prohibits the use of triods or monopods in its museums and gardens. A security policy on its website says: " Monopod selfie sticks are included in this policy. This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions." The policy came into effect on March 3, 2015.

The museum, which is the size of 18 football fields according to its website, carries natural science specimens and cultural artifacts.

5. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The New York Times reported on Feb 14 that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which has been studying the issue of people using selfie sticks for some time, has decided to forbid selfie sticks.

"From now on, you will be asked quietly to put it away," Mr Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer at the museum, was quoted as saying. "It's one thing to take a picture at arm's length, but when it is three times arm's length, you are invading someone else's personal space," he added. The museum carries art works that date back to centuries ago.

Sources: AFP, New York Times

jalmsab@sph.com.sg