Vagina Museum

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Vagina Museum
Vagina Museum Logo.png
EstablishedMarch 2017
TypeMuseum
Websitevaginamuseum.co.uk

The Vagina Museum is the world's first bricks and mortar museum about the female reproductive system.[1][2][3] The project is based in the United Kingdom, and moved into its first fixed location in Camden Market, London, in October 2019.[4][5] Its first exhibition opened on 16 November 2019.[6][7] It moved to its second premises in Bethnal Green on 19 March 2022 and was open to the public until Wednesday, February 1, 2023.[8]

Description[edit]

The Vagina Museum was founded in response to a lack of gynaecological representation within the culture and heritage sector throughout the world. The museum usually hosts two temporary exhibitions per year which explore a multitude of topics surrounding gynaecological health, social history, activism and discourse, as well as an events programme of talks, workshops, comedy, theatre and performance art.[citation needed]

History[edit]

The project to create the Vagina Museum was launched when the founder, Florence Schechter, discovered there was a penis museum in Iceland, the Icelandic Phallological Museum, but there was no equivalent for the vagina or vulva.[9]

2017–2018: Pop up phase[edit]

The Museum's first event, a comedy fundraiser, was held on 19 May 2017 headlined by Hayley Ellis.[10][11][12] It has run a number of events since, including participating in a residency with The Mothership Group called Superculture.[13] Events as part of this residency have included a talk on "Vulvanomics" by Emma L. E. Rees, author of The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History, and a screening of the film Teeth (see vagina dentata) followed by a Q&A with Amanda DiGioia, the author of Childbirth and Parenting in Horror Texts: The Marginalized and the Monstrous and various comedy nights.[14][15] They have also held events at Limmud Festival 2017[16] and the Royal Institution.[17]

The Museum held its first exhibition in August 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland.[18] Its second pop up exhibition was called "Is Your Vagina Normal?",[19] and it travelled around the UK to Ancient House, Thetford,[20] Brainchild Festival 2018,[21] SQIFF 2018,[21] and Museums Association Conference 2018.[22]

In the 2017 Women of the Future Awards, Schechter was commended in the arts and culture category for her work with the Vagina Museum.[23]

A permanent museum was proposed with exhibitions on gynaecological anatomy from science to art to culture,[24][25][26] which was to be trans-inclusive.[27]

2019: Crowdfunding campaign and Camden Market premises[edit]

On 21 March 2019, the Vagina Museum launched a crowdfunder to raise money to open a premises in Camden Market.[28][29][30]

The project was supported by Camden Council, and leader of Camden Council Georgia Gould said:

Camden has a proud and radical history of challenging prejudice and orthodoxy, however, we acknowledge that the stigma associated with talking about gynaecological health has meant ignorance, confusion, shame, and poor medical care for too many. 65% of 16-to-25 year olds say they have a problem using the word vagina or vulva with almost half of 18-to-24 year old women say they are too embarrassed to talk about sexual health issues. We are therefore incredibly excited that the Vagina Museum is seeking to establish in Camden, and hope that it is funded to provide an inclusive and intersectional centre for learning, creativity, activism, and outreach that will add immeasurably to our collective understanding of our bodies.[31][32]

The crowdfunder raised £48,945[33] and in October 2019, the museum moved into Camden Stables Market[5] and began a programme of events. It opened its first exhibition, Muff Busters: vagina myths and how to fight them in November 2019. This exhibition was scheduled to end on 29 March 2020, but closed a few days earlier due to national lockdown restrictions in the UK. The next exhibition, Periods: A Brief History[34] opened on 21 May 2021.[35]

In August 2021 the museum announced that its landlord had decided not to extend its lease beyond September of that year.[36] The Camden Market site closed but the museum retained its online presence while it sought a new premises.[37] On 22 February 2022, it announced a relocation to 18 Victoria Park Square in Bethnal Green and a scheduled reopening date of 19 March 2022.[38]

2022: Bethnal Green premises[edit]

On 19 March, the Vagina Museum reopened at 18 Victoria Park Square in Bethnal Green.[39] The museum opened with its exhibition Periods: A Brief History, along with a new permanent exhibition titled From A to V.[40] Prior to the reopening, the museum was advertised on billboards in the vicinity with cheeky puns about other local businesses in the area.[41]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Laskow, Sarah (28 April 2017). "The World Needs a Vagina Museum". Atlas Obscura.
  2. ^ Moss, Abigail (4 September 2017). "Why I'm Opening The World's First Museum Dedicated To Vaginas". Refinery29.
  3. ^ "Vagina Wissen: Gibt es bald das weltweit ERSTE Vagina-Museum?" [Vagina knowledge: Will there soon be the world's FIRST vagina museum?]. Cosmopolitan (in German). 26 April 2017.
  4. ^ "World's first vagina museum to open in Camden Market with myth-busting free exhibition". London Evening Standard. 18 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Vagina museum in London aims to 'banish shame'". BBC New UK. 18 September 2019.
  6. ^ "The world's first vagina museum opens in London". Cosmopolitan. 17 November 2019.
  7. ^ "World's first vagina museum now open in London". Metro London. 16 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Vagina Museum in search for new home following second eviction". Museums Association. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  9. ^ "A woman is campaigning to open the world's first vagina museum". 12 April 2017.
  10. ^ Spencer, Hayley (25 April 2017). "Someone is crowd-funding to create the world's first vagina museum". Stylist.
  11. ^ Thompson, Rachel (10 April 2017). "There's a museum for penises, but not for vaginas, yet that could change". Mashable.
  12. ^ Solutions, Powder Blue Internet Business. "Comics raise cash for a vagina museum : News 2017 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". www.chortle.co.uk. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  13. ^ Thompson, Jessie (23 August 2017). "A vagina museum is coming to London". Evening Standard.
  14. ^ "a vagina museum is opening". London On The Inside. 23 August 2017.
  15. ^ McCabe, Katie (30 August 2017). "What's happening with The Vagina Museum?". Time Out.
  16. ^ "Limmud Festival 2017 - Presenters: S". events.limmud.org.
  17. ^ "Valentine's Day vaginas". The Royal Institution. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  18. ^ Gaulon, Julia (14 January 2018). "Avec Florence Schechter, au Royaume-Uni un musée du vagin en gestation" [With Florence Schechter, a Vagina Museum is in gestation in the UK]. TV5 Monde (in French).
  19. ^ Suarez, Maria (February 2018). "Discover The Museum That Will Be Dedicated Solely To Vaginas". Cultura Colectiva.
  20. ^ "The Vagina Museum Comes to Ancient House, Thetford". Visit Norfolk. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Is Your Vagina Normal?". Brainchild Festival 2021.
  22. ^ Adams, Geraldine Kendall (8 August 2018). "Festival of Change line-up unveiled for Belfast 2018". Museums Association. Archived from the original on 16 February 2019.
  23. ^ "Women of the Future Awards shortlist 2017". Women of the Future Awards.
  24. ^ Sims, Alexandra (21 April 2017). "This woman wants to create the world's first Vagina Museum in London and she needs your help". Time Out.
  25. ^ Gander, Kashmira (29 March 2017). "Vaginas deserve their own museum according to this woman". The Independent.
  26. ^ Brown, Jessica (13 April 2017). "This woman is trying to open a vagina museum". Archived from the original on 13 June 2017.
  27. ^ "Meet The Millennial Science YouTuber Who Is Setting Up The World's First Vagina Museum".
  28. ^ "The Vagina Museum will open in London this year — with your help". Evening Standard. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  29. ^ "The world's first Vagina Museum opens this fall in the UK". Public Radio International. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  30. ^ Turek, Anezka (20 March 2019). "Could you help the world's first Vagina Museum become a reality?". DIVA. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  31. ^ "Crowdfunder launched to make world's first physical Vagina Museum a reality". Museums + Heritage Advisor. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  32. ^ "the Vagina Museum needs your Help!". Funny Women. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  33. ^ "The Vagina Museum needs your help to open". crowdfunder.com. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Future Exhibitions – Periods: A Brief History – 4 April - 25 October 2020". Vagina Museum. Archived from the original on 20 February 2020.
  35. ^ Baska, Maggie (10 May 2021). "London's Vagina Museum is set to reopen this month with an exhibition dedicated to the history of menstruation". Pink News.
  36. ^ Atkinson, Rebecca (24 August 2021). "'Outpouring of support' as Vagina Museum seeks new home". Museums Association News. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  37. ^ Sinclair, Leah (27 September 2021). "Vagina Museum: people share how the vital Camden space changed their view on vaginas". Stylist.
  38. ^ Mills, Eleanor (22 February 2022). "Vagina Museum finds new premises". Museums Association. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  39. ^ "The World's First Vagina Museum Is Right Here In London". Secret London. 22 February 2022. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  40. ^ Thompson, Jessie (18 March 2022). "A warm welcome: inside the Vagina Museum's new home in Bethnal Green". Evening Standard. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  41. ^ "Vagina Museum "Neighbours" by TheOr London". www.campaignlive.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2022.