BUSINESS

Selfie sticks: Versailles palace, Britain's National Gallery latest attractions to impose bans

03/11/2015 05:08 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 05:59 EDT
PARIS - "Selfie sticks" have now been banned at a French palace and a British museum, joining a growing list of global tourist attractions — including some in Canada — to take such measures.

The devices are used to improve snapshots, but critics say they are obnoxious and potentially dangerous. Officials at Palace of Versailles outside Paris, and Britain's National Gallery in London, announced the bans Wednesday, saying they need to protect artworks and other visitors.

Other places that have put limits on the selfie-stick craze:

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CANADA

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg banned selfie sticks earlier this month, saying the main reason for the ban is the safety of museum visitors and exhibits. Bans have also come into effect at two Quebec-based institutions, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Pointe-A-Calliere Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History.

ITALY

Rome's Colosseum banned selfie sticks last month as a security measure, both for the objects on exhibit inside and for the 16,000 daily visitors to the 2,000-year-old monument.

"The twirling around of hundreds of sticks can become unwittingly dangerous," Colosseum spokesman Christiano Brughitta said.

Two American tourists were arrested last week after carving their names into the Colosseum's wall — and then taking a photo with a selfie stick.

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UNITED STATES

The Smithsonian museums in Washington banned selfie sticks last week. Cameras and pictures are still allowed, but selfie sticks, tripods and monopods are not. Smithsonian officials say this is a preventative measure to protect visitors and museum objects.

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AUSTRIA

Vienna's Albertina, one of the city's top art museums, prohibits selfie sticks. Museum spokeswoman Sarah Wulbrandt says visitors must check-in the sticks before entering.

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BRITAIN

Besides the National Gallery, some English soccer teams have banned the selfie stick from their stadiums.

The National Portrait Gallery, adjacent to the National Gallery, says the sticks are allowed, but "anything that may prove disruptive is reviewed on an ongoing basis." The British Museum is "currently reviewing" its selfie-stick policy.

Some art-lovers praised the idea of a ban.

"If you go into an exhibition, surely the purpose is to see what is on show and not to take umpteen photographs of yourself?" said Bill Doig, a retired doctor visiting the National Portrait Gallery.

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BRAZIL

Soccer stadiums in the South American country have also banned selfie sticks because of their potential use as weapons in fights between rival fans, police say. Selfie sticks were also banned from Brazil's recent Carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro.

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Jill Lawless in London, Bradley Brooks in Rio de Janeiro, George Jahn in Vienna and AP Television producer Trisha Thomas in Rome contributed to this report.

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With files from The Canadian Press.