ASI bans selfie sticks at 46 site museums

Published - July 05, 2017 11:45 pm IST - New Delhi

In a move that will not click with selfie enthusiasts, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has banned selfie sticks at its 46 site museums across the country. So, visitors to archaeological site museums such as Taj Museum in Agra, the Indian War Memorial Museum in Delhi, the Archaeological Museums in Konarak, Hampi and others across the country, have to tuck away their selfie sticks in their bags. PTI

Site museums are museums where the ASI keeps the small and movable antiquities recovered from the ancient sites, in close association with the remains to which they belong. Such museums, often close to the excavation site, display objects retrieved during excavations, explorations, scientific clearances and during conservation of monuments.

Sources in the ASI say the decision to exclude selfie sticks was taken to ensure security of the artefacts. “Times are changing and at every site there are people with mobile phones and taking pictures freely. There are people even shooting inside the monuments, so a decision was taken by the ASI to put in place some restrictions,” said ASI Director Dr. K. Lourdusamy.

However, it is not just the selfie stick that has raised concerns among officials but also heavy equipment and accessories used for photography.

The new policy also said that while photography is open to the public in all the museums free of cost, visitors cannot use tripods, monopods or flash.

Visitors wanting to use multiple lenses, tripods or monopods or carry large photography bags have to get prior permission provided they use them for academic purposes. This permission has to be taken 15 days before the scheduled visit.

R.K. Mishra, Additional Director General of National Museum, Delhi, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, said the museum was yet to face any problems due to selfie sticks. “We might have to think about it and bring in a policy if required, but so far, there is no need,” he said.

Former Culture Secretary Jawhar Sircar opposed the decision. “Technology cannot be stopped. ASI officials should understand that opening a shop alone doesn’t help, they should learn to smile at customers too. ASI is a custodian of Indian culture, not its owners and it should have an open spirit,” Mr. Sircar said.

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