Camden Town, the well-known and busy northern London district, now houses the Vagina Museum. It opened its doors on November 2019. Its goal is to fight taboos and debunk myths that surround the female genitalia.
If the Icelandic Phallological Museum exists since 1997, it was not until more than twenty years later that its female equivalent, the Vagina Museum, saw the light of day. Florence Schechter initiated the project by organizing several pop-up museums around the UK. Then, she decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign in March 2019 in order to create the first Vagina Museum in the world. Eventually, it was amidst Camden Market’s food and souvenir stalls that the sign ‘Vagina Museum’ was set up. A free, committed and educational museum was born.
As soon as you enter the museum, a poster lists the values attached to this space – Respect, Integrity, Empowerment, Inclusivity -, along with its missions. Among them are: the will to raise awareness of the gynaecological anatomy and health, erase the stigma around the body and gynaecological anatomy, and challenge heteronormative and cisnormative behaviour.
Through its first exhibition, the Vagina Museum wants to deconstruct about fifteen myths surrounding female sex. Even though half of the population has one, the vagina remains taboo and poorly known. After visitors get the opportunity to take a Q&A test, the exhibition begins by covering all the basic anatomical knowledge. As you continue your exploration into the museum, many common and preconceived ideas are pedagogically demystified such as “You can’t get pregnant if it is your first time having sexual intercourse or if your partner pulls out before he ejaculates” / “Having a vagina means that you are a woman.” / “Periods are dirty, and using a tampon means that you’re no longer a virgin.” The Vagina Museum explains why ALL OF THE STATEMENTS ABOVE ARE OBVIOUSLY FALSE.
The exhibition reminds visitors that having a poor understanding of their own anatomy can lead to direct negative impacts on health. The Vagina Museum leads with an approach that seeks to raise awareness on questions women have about their own genitalia. In a nutshell, love your vulva!
Where? Unit 17&18 Stables Market Chalk Farm Road London, NW1 8AH
When? Mon-Sat: 10am – 6pm / Sun: 11am – 6pm
Article by Léah Boukobza