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Cameras allowed in museums?


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I am planning a visit to aviation and maritime museums in England and noticed that cameras are not allowed in the BoB Museum.

 

Is that the same at all other museums now in England?

 

PR

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Can't answer about England, but here in the U.S.  I find that the major two reasons for no cameras in museums are:

 

1) There's a special "on Loan" exhibit that the owners don't want you to photograph  -- typically in art museums, or

 

2) Many people these days are idiots when it says "no flash please", they take pictures with the flash anyway.  Lots of places feel that the flash fades the paint, or some places, like aquariums, the flash bothers animals that don't live in well-lighted environments - think octopi...   Sometimes, if you have a real camera with a Museum setting (no flash, able to take pictures in poor lighting), they'll let you slide, unless they're just tired of all the cell phone users who can't figure out how to turn off the "red-eye" feature  -- or the flash --

Ed

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The BoB Museum at Tangmere was the only place where photos were not allowed of all the museums I visited in the Uk over the years and then only in the galleries with personal memorabilia etc. You could photograph all their aircraft both inside and out.

Edited by Biggles81
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The museum at Hawkinge doesn’t allow photography (including phones) on their site. This due to thieving scroates using photos for targeted thefts, it’s a rule that’s irritating if not offensive if you are an honest person, but it’s their museum and their rules. I’ve been there but I won’t be going back because of this rule, so it’s their loss ( of revenue) 

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You actually made me think if videocameras are allowed, for example, at RAF Hendon. I wish to record my entire visit to the place.

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Some do some don't, check with the museum about their rules. USAF museum allows tripods, NASM and Udvar Hazy don't. Most UK museums I have been to allow flash photography except in galleries. Modern digital cameras are great though,

 

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Some museums don't allow tripods. They state "elf'n'safety" but I suspect in reality that they think some commercial skulduggery is afoot that will somehow deprive the museum of revenue. That said, I have always wondered why places like Cosford don't sell CD's of their exhibits in close-up. (The Hornisse and Dinah are available elsewhere already) After all, we aren't allowed entry into such as the Lincoln. (Radium dials! Exposed surfaces and edges! Sloping floor!)  but they could help themselves with a little extra revenue here methinks. I'd buy anything that had interior and engine views (Stuka, 110, 111 etc.) especially if in the middle of a deep restoration. I got some pics of Cosford's Lysander a while back, but don't live close enough to visit it every week for a few months to see it in complete strip-down and reassembly.

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8 minutes ago, Ossington said:

Some museums don't allow tripods. They state "elf'n'safety" but I suspect in reality that they think some commercial skulduggery is afoot that will somehow deprive the museum of revenue.

There may be an aspect of that, but I think it has more to do with public liability insurance. If you are using a tripod on museum property, someone trips over it for whatever reason and injures themselves or breaks an exhibit or something, who is liable? Is it you or the museum?

 

Some smaller museums prohibit photography (one I know also bans sketching) because they host items that belong to third parties. The issue of copyright and so on then arises. Large institutions, such as the RAF museums, are happy for photography to be done. I’ve used a monopod at the Cosford site without problems, but they discourage the use of a tripod.

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5 hours ago, Sturmovik said:

You actually made me think if videocameras are allowed, for example, at RAF Hendon. I wish to record my entire visit to the place.

 

Sturmovik -

I’m not 100% certain if video cameras are specifically allowed or not.  However, I visited RAFM Hendon not long ago with one of my Nikon cameras and happily snapped in all the Halls ... that camera shoots video as well as stills.

 

My suggestion to you is to enquire of the Museum directly.  There’s a ‘Contact Us’ option on their website.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Jonny

Edit: At least there WAS a Contact Us’ facility - I used it some time ago to ask about a specific aeroplane.  It now seems that’s now only by telephone .. 020 8205 2266 - that might allow you to send a txt message.  I can’t do that using my tablet so can’t try it

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One reason for museums to ban photographs is the obnoxious behaviour of some photographers who partially block passageways with their equipment (hello tripod users) and insist on other visitors staying away from their chosen subjects whilst they leisurely take their own vitally important personal record.  Generally speaking, there are no available photographs of these particular aircraft elsewhere.  Really?  Of course, other visitors are just being selfish in insisting on being allowed their own look at the exhibits in their own time and blocking the view of the photographer.

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Never had an issue, but I think that not allowing it is just wrong.

If they want to deal with the annoying sort of photographer, or ones who's equipment can get in the way they could have specific days for them at the museum, and only allow cameras without tripods and other disruptive equipment on other days. 

Edited by Adam Poultney
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Tripods are annoying and very unnecessary. If you can't hand hold a photo on a static plane, you need to rethink your hobby!

 

However photo bans are silly and hard to enforce. I recall at the Tehran army museum we were closely followed by a uniformed soldier throughout to stop us taking pics.

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46 minutes ago, Tim R-T-C said:

Tripods are annoying and very unnecessary. If you can't hand hold a photo on a static plane, you need to rethink your hobby!

 

Fine in strong light but the longer exposures required in museums make hand-holds inadequate for the kind of sharp detail that modellers require.  If you just want a memory snapshot, fine.

 

I do feel that if museums do have complete photo bans then they should make available photos of all the exhibits in the museum at a reasonable price.  If you want to photograph some particular detail then speak to the museum staff, who will generally be helpful - although possibly not the bored security guard on loan from the local offender's institute.  He'll just say no because he has no freedom of judgement to do anything else.

Edited by Graham Boak
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TL:DR - ask politely in advance!

 

The London Science Museum website states that while photography using hand held cameras is allowed, tripods are not. I wished to take some photos for private use of a specific exhibit which I knew to be in a dimly lit area so emailed them explaining when I would be visiting, why I wanted the photos and if it would be possible to use a tripod.

 

They quickly gave permission for tripod use so on arrival, I contacted the gallery attendant/guide who knew all about my visit. She even moved some access barriers to allow some closer shots.

 

Result: happy visitor and good public relations!

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Another reason for prohibiting flash photography is that the facility may have sensors for the fire system that are light sensitive, a sudden flash could have you neck deep in suppressant foam which could spoil your day. 

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Personally I've never had an issue with using my modest hand-held camera (flash off, of course) anywhere I've visited in the UK or in Europe and I would walk away from any museum or gallery that operated a blanket "no photography" policy. A modern camera with a one inch sensor and decent image stabilisation should be able to capture as much detail as any normal modeller is likely to want especially if you shoot RAW.

 

That said I'm all in favour of banning selfie sticks and, indeed, the kind of self-obsessed idiot who takes selfies in front of interesting aircraft or gorgeous works of art.

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Never had a problem at any museum I have visited in the UK but usually ask first about use of flash etc.     Quite a while back back in the pre-digital age when I was still using film one of the staff at Cosford asked why I was taking so many photos and I explained that I was on my first visit there and was taking the shots as modelling references for aircraft and equipment I had never seen in the wild and he went out of his way to point out items of interest that were not always immediately obvious.

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2 hours ago, Coors54 said:

Another reason for prohibiting flash photography is that the facility may have sensors for the fire system that are light sensitive, a sudden flash could have you neck deep in suppressant foam which could spoil your day. 

 

Not to mention spoiling the exhibits!

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I've only used a tripod twice, the first time was at Hendon because the light is bad, and the second time was at Dayton for the same reason. Dayton had no issue at all but at Hendon I had to get a special tripod pass...................which was free and handed out without having to be signed for, but I still felt very official 😉

 

I must say though, with mobile phone cameras becoming as good as there are I've taken to just using my phone and have stopped taking my camera along to most museums.

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  • 1 month later...

A bit late to the party on this, but my experience travelling around Europe, I've never had any issues with taking photographs at military or car museums.  Sometimes there might be a particular exhibit that there are no photos allowed to be taken.
If lighting is an issue at, I have a pretty sturdy mini tripod that I can angle to rest on my chest which helps get the shutter down a few more stops.  I've never had any issues with using that tripod.

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