Situated in Camden’s Stables Market, the world’s first ever Vagina Museum draws locals and tourists alike to learn about gynecological anatomy. It’s the first Vagina Museum in the world, despite the fact there has been a Penis Museum in Iceland since 1997 – it’s certainly about time we celebrate the female body as well.
The modestly sized space saw a queue stretching far out into the market square, despite it being a Sunday evening when I visited. I saw their exhibition, titled Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How to Fight Them, which consisted of banner displays that lined the walls of the brick and mortar museum. These banners detailed myth-busting facts about the vagina and were accompanied by an installation of menstrual cycle art displaying red, glittery sculptures of two moon cups and a tampon.
The museum stands as a registered charity, funded by the £50,000 raised during a crowdfunding campaign before its launch in 2017. Such a project remains incredibly important as shocking statistics suggest that vagina-related matters are still considered a taboo. Gynecological cancer charity Eve Appeal found in 2016 that 65% of women were uncomfortable using the word ‘vagina’, while article headlines such as ‘Talking about vaginas? No thank you, we’re British’ reveal how we need to become comfortable talking about vaginas.
Although the displays were extremely informative, the visit was slightly underwhelming as the space lacked much visual art, which might have been more stimulating for the average museum-goer amongst the plethora of facts and figures. But perhaps it is the duty of the public to engage in learning about this anatomy which our lives literally depend on, no matter how perceptibly tedious. The turnout was impressive; there was a balance of men and women in the space who were all equally invested in learning about gynaecological anatomy. The exhibition also gestured to intersectionality with a banner re-enforcing that not only women have vaginas.
There wasn’t a complete lack of artwork; artist Charlotte Wilcox’ designs, which were incorporated into the museum shop souvenirs, provided both a fun and celebratory representation of vaginas. There were even guitar picks on sale with an illustration of a vagina printed atop each, something I think could be a great potential gift idea.
If you happen to be stopping by in Camden and haven’t yet stumbled upon vagina facts, the museum is worth a drop-in. The project is still in the midst of its launch and will hopefully expand and include even more unique features, or at least inspire curators to make vagina awareness in museums a more popular feature.