London is home to world-class museums and galleries from the Victoria & Albert Museum to The Tate and even some more unusual spaces like the British Dental Museum in Marylebone (there’s something for everyone). This year though the city hopes to stretch its cultural offering to include the world’s first vagina museum.
Founder Florence Schechter launched a crowdfunding campaign last week to raise funding for the world’s first bricks and mortar museum dedicated to vaginas, vulvas and the gynaecological anatomy. After its first exhibition at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, the Vagina Museum travelled across the UK as a pop-up museum. Now Florence has been offered a permanent space in Camden Market in North London but she needs to raise £300,000 to get the museum up and running by November.
The museum will focus on breaking the stigma and shame surrounding women’s sexuality with exhibitions covering everything from anatomy and society to periods and sex. According to research gathered by the campaign from the Eve Appeal “65% of 16-25-year-olds struggle to use the words vagina or vulva and more than one in ten of 16-35-year-olds said they found it difficult to talk to their GPs about gynaecological health concerns.”
While there’s a museum dedicated to penises and penile parts at the Icelandic Phallological Museum, there isn’t an equivalent space dedicated to vaginas anywhere in the world, which is one of the reasons Florence decided to launch the Vagina Museum.
“I learnt there is a penis museum in Iceland but no vagina equivalent anywhere in the world,” Florence told Lonely Planet Travel News. “This seemed unfair to me, and there’s only one way to see change in the world and that’s to do it yourself. What I hope people will get from the museum is that vaginas, vulvas and the gynaecological anatomy are nothing to be ashamed of. They are amazing and do wonderful things. The main goal of the museum is to de-stigmatise this part of the body.”
The Vagina Museum hopes to have a packed events programme that will include talks, panels, workshops, classes and comedy nights, as well as an outreach programme that will collaborate with medical professionals to provide better services to support the trans and intersex communities. It also aims to highlight important issues affecting women such as consent, body image and intersectionality.
Dr Alison Wright, vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, praised the museum as a “huge asset” in terms of progressing conversations around women’s health.
You can donate and keep up to date with the Vagina Museum here.