The world’s first ever vagina museum has opened in London.
The Vagina Museum, based in Camden Market, marked the occasion with its first exhibition: ‘Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How To Fight Them’.
The free exhibition opened to the public on Saturday 16 November and is open seven days a week.
It centres around the concepts of “cleanliness, contraception, anatomy, periods and sexuality,” according to its curator Sarah Creed.
Exhibits include a larger-than-life display models of sanitary products – a tampon and Mooncup – covered in glittery “blood” to help tackle the taboos around this imagery.
There are also various anatomical depictions of vaginas – including a scientific model of the inside of the female body.
“For now I’ve focussed on top level content,” Creed told Yahoo UK. “But I could have filled a space 800 times bigger than this.”
Visitors are handed an anatomy quiz to label parts of the vagina – and, by the looks of previous papers, it looks like many fall short in being able to do so.
The exhibition also features a gift shop which sells everything from the feminist literature of Maya Angelou and Laura Bates to more kitsch items, like a knitted clitoris and a lightbox bearing the phrase “Love the muff”.
“People expect funny from us. I think engaging people with humour is the best way to do it.”
Going forward, Creed is looking to engage with visitors to the museum in order to gauge the demand ahead of further exhibitions.
“For me in terms of programming I want to see what people are interested in. We have people coming in and saying ‘I didn’t know any of this’.”
Creed acknowledges the limits of her own perspective, as someone immersed in the world of vaginas.
“I’m a person with a vagina but I don’t know what everyone wants to know about themselves,” she says, explaining she is regularly surprised by how little both men and women know.
“One in five adult women in the UK think you need to remove a tampon to urinate because they think urine comes from the same place as when they menstruate, while one in four girls don’t know what a period are until they have one,” she said. “Those numbers are far higher than I thought they would be.”
As part of the museum’s feedback process, the exhibition will feature a “vagina postbox” where visitors can ask questions and share what they might like to see from the museum going forward.
The history-making site will regularly host exhibitions, workshops and film screenings on topics including body image, consent, mental health and sexuality. It will also provide an outreach programme supporting healthy and inclusive sex and relationships education while services and support will also be offered to trans and intersex communities.
The museum has found its home following a crowdfunding campaign which raised almost $95,000 (£50,000) from supporters worldwide.
Words by Francesca Specter
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