China's major museums are ready to say no to "selfie sticks", but are still considering whether to close their doors completely to the world's newest camera accessory.
The Palace Museum in Beijing, the world's largest museum in terms of visitor numbers, announced on Wednesday that selfie sticks are "not suggested to be used" in the institution.
"Selfie sticks will cause safety concerns, whether for tourists or the exhibits," said Shen Lixia, deputy director of the museum's tourist reception department. "It may touch the glass exhibition case and cause damage to the cultural relics."
She said that selfie sticks can still be taken into the museum, but visitors using them in indoor exhibition halls will be stopped by museum staff.
There are many narrow passageways and staircases in the Palace Museum, where the sticks could cause problems, and Shen added that the sticks cannot be used in outdoor areas.
"Consequently, we suggest visitors do not take them into our museum in the first place," she said.
A similar situation exists in Nanjing Museum in the Jiangsu provincial capital.
According to Cui Xiaoxing from the museum's public relations department, staff members will ask visitors using selfie sticks to put the instruments away, but they are still allowed in the museum.
"However, compared with outdoor places of interest, our museum does not seem to witness too many visitors using the sticks. So it looks unnecessary to change our visitors' rule at this time," Cui said.
Cui pointed out that other large camera accessories, such as tripods, are not allowed in Nanjing Museum and many other Chinese museums.
In Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, the Western Han Museum of the Nanyue King Mausoleum announced on Tuesday that it will categorize selfie sticks like tripods and no longer allow them to be used in indoor areas.
But some museums are considering changing their written rules, rather than just giving visitors a spoken warning.
The Capital Museum in Beijing told China Daily in a statement on Wednesday that "the museum does not support the use of selfie sticks, and relevant regulation is planned after further investigation".
Selfie sticks have recently become enormously popular in China, and some people think that new policies should depend on specific situations.
"There are indoor and outdoor areas in a museum. So it would be unreasonable to ban selfie sticks in a roomy outdoor area," said Jiang Xiaobin, a Beijing-based veteran museum visitor. "However, it would greatly influence my visit experience if someone used it in a crowded exhibition hall, not to mention a safety concern.
"Anyway, it's more important to enjoy the exhibits than taking selfies to prove 'I've been here'," she added.