Selfies are welcome in museums, just not the "selfie stick"

You could be the Leonardo da Vinci of the selfie and all of your self-portraits could be masterpieces. But a growing number of museums are banning "selfie-sticks" in order to protect priceless art and treasured artifacts.

Selfie sticks hold a camera or smartphone farther than an arm's reach away, for that perfect pic of family and friends and/or self. They've been around since 2005, but in the past year they've become nearly ubiquitous.

endahler02154.jpg

Selfie-sticks seem to be everywhere, but museums are asking visitors to leave them at home.

CBS News

The selfie-taker-in-chief goofed around with one for his latest Obamacare push. Laura Rodriguez used a selfie stick during a recent visit to the American Museum of Natural History, where they are permitted.

"You can take good pictures of things inside the museum," she said.

Self-portraits are a cherished art form practiced by the likes of Van Gogh, Kahlo, Picasso.

But a growing number of museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, don't see selfie sticks as objects of beauty.

"The concern is that the selfie sticks can do damage to our art, to our visitors, and the selfie stick users themselves," said Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer at the Met. "They're so distracted that they're not paying attention and when you don't pay attention, you could trip, you could fall off our balconies, all kinds of things could happen."

He said there's no objection to taking pictures, but to using the pole and waving it around. "We are pro-selfied, just not pro-selfie stick," he said.

Also, leave the sticks at home if you're planning on visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in D.C., the Getty Center in L.A., and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.

But there are other options.

"One thing you can do is buy these attachments that go onto your phone, kind of a wide angle attachment," said Sreenivasan. "You can also hand your phone over to someone and ask them to take it like we did growing up with a camera and you can make sure the tallest person in the group is always reaching out and taking the picture himself or herself."

Or...simply enjoy the art, for art's sake. Uncle Ned will just have to trust that you were there.