Earlier this year, one our reporters headed to a rather unusual museum in London. Layla Nicholson stepped from Bethnal Green station and down a back alley to the world’s first in-person vagina museum.
The Vagina Museum opened in the area just 10 months after relocating from Camden. The exhibitions – all themed around the female genitals – welcomed over 40,000 blushing visitors ready to learn about gynaecological anatomy and take snaps with a huge glittering tampon.
Home to the exhibition – Periods: A Brief History and From A to V – the cheeky museum was free to enter and open to the pubic… I mean public. However, sadly, in January 2023 the museum of all things lady garden was forced to close.
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Given notice to vacate the premises at "short notice" due to being a property guardianship, those who worked at the Vagina Museum were devastated. Thankfully, it now looks like that wasn’t the end for "the world's first bricks and mortar museum dedicated to the gynaecological anatomy".
Which is lucky for anyone who wants to learn about everything from the camel toe to menstrual cups! Finally, those of us who missed out the first time could walk through its hallowed halls.
The Vagina Museum is back with an all new venue. Posting on its website, a spokesperson for the Vagina Museum wrote: “We are thrilled to announce that we’ve found our new home! It's a stunning space: a twin pair of railway arches in East London with space for three galleries, an event space, and the possibility of expanding to provide a cafe!
“We have big plans for the space and are planning our future exhibitions, including applying for grant funding. We've been offered a six year lease on the premises, which means there is a long, secure future in front of us – our financial modelling has shown that we will have a sustainable business model within the space.”
But, as ever, nothing is as easy as simply finding a space. The Vagina Museum needs to raise £85,000 by the beginning of June to re-open.
The spokesperson added: “Current cash flow indications indicate that the Vagina Museum is unable to continue a protracted premises search, or pivot to an alternative model. We'll be unable to survive beyond a few months without this secure new home. All activities, including digital activities, will cease and the charity will wind up. In other words, it'll be beef curtains for us.
“We’re beavering away behind the scenes, but we need help from you. At time of writing, we’ve raised more than £30,000 from the public so far and more than £10,000 behind the scenes. We’re about halfway there. You can help get us all the way. Your donation has already made an enormous difference – why not try persuading a friend to match what you’ve given?
“With the community we have and the appetite for a Vagina Museum, we're feeling optimistic that this campaign will succeed. We know most people would hate to see the Vagina Museum disappear from the world, and moreover, that there's a huge interest in seeing it flourish and thrive. We just need your help to get us over the finish line.”
But, is it worth it to keep the museum open? Well, having visited in its last venue, Layla Nicholson said: “While some may assume the Vagina Museum is purely for the stereotypical feminist, it feels like a place for education too. When you look past giggling teens being taught about their 'parts', you can learn about the whole bloody history."
The museum teaches visitors about everything from Ancient Egyptian cures for sagging boobs to rudimentary sanitary wear and even the gift shop was full of vagina-themed gifts from sanitary towel earrings to vibrator artwork. We particularly like the contraceptive birthday cards…
“A vagina is for life not just for Christmas (or to be temporally gawped at in Bethnal Green),” said Layla. Those who want to donate to the cause should head to the Vagina Museum’s Go Fund Me.
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