WASHINGTON (AP) — Cameras and pictures are allowed, but selfie sticks are now banned at the Smithsonian museums.

The Smithsonian Institution issued a new policy Tuesday saying the use of selfie sticks is now prohibited, along with tripods and monopods in museums and gardens. Selfie sticks are handheld camera mounts for self-portraits.

Smithsonian officials say this is a preventative measure to protect visitors and museum objects — especially when museums are crowded with thousands of visitors.

In a statement, the Smithsonian says the museums encourage visitors to take selfies and share their experiences. But they should leave their selfie sticks in their bags.

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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