No Photos, Please: Museum Asks Visitors to Trade Cameras for Pencils

With its #startdrawing Instagram campaign, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam wants viewers to appreciate art through their eyes instead of their cameras

Museum bans cameras, asks patrons to draw artwork
Sketch by Popular Photography Art Director, Jason Beckstead

Lots of museums have banned selfie sticks, and some exhibitions bar cameras altogether. But leave it to Amsterdam’s famous Rijkmuseum to find a better way to get tourists to put stop photographing and spend more quality time with art: Sketch instead.

With an Instagram campaign, #startdrawing, and live events pegged to an international drawing festival last month, the Rijkmsmuseum went so far as to hang a huge banner over its main entrance depicting a crossed-out camera. In an Instagram post, the museum said it "invites everyone to start drawing in the galleries" in order to "get a closer look at the beauty of the art."

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#startdrawing go Amsterdam!

A post shared by @ vcricco on Nov 24, 2015 at 4:50pm PST

Much as we love photographing in museums, we’re all for discouraging snapshooters this way. Far too many people seem to experience famous paintings and sculptures only through their own viewfinders instead of savoring them in the moment. And if you really want a decent reproduction to take home, head to the gift shop and buy a postcard!