US museums ban selfie sticks in New York and Washington D.C.

They may be ubiquitous in New York, but the selfie stick hasn't taken over D.C. quite yet.

Several local museums - including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Gallery of Art - have banned the use of the sticks that help visitors shoot self portraits in the galleries. Others may follow.

"We would like to have a policy that covers all museums. It's much easier that way," said Linda St. Thomas, spokeswoman for the Smithsonian Institution. If a ban is adopted, it will be posted on the website, she said.

Several Smithsonian units, including the Hirshhorn and the Air and Space Museum, have already decided the sticks are like monopods and tripods and can't be used for safety reasons. Many museums around the country, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Getty Centre in Los Angeles, have already banned them.

The National Gallery of Art doesn't allow visitors to wear backpacks or carry monopods, tripods and umbrellas; the selfie stick is a similar object.

"Anything that might swing around," said spokeswoman Deborah Ziska. "We ask people to check them at the coat room. It's about safety of the art, and in a crowded situation, safety of visitors."

The selfie stick has been added to this ban, although it is not yet included on the museum's website.

Many museums in New York City have banned the poles, which are beloved by many international tourists. There are fewer tourists in general in Washington at this time of year.

"Students are coming for spring break," St. Thomas said. "Right now we don't think it's a problem."

The Washington Post