Free, fun, feminist. And, most of all, refreshing. The Vagina Museum opened in Camden Market only a few months ago, but it’s already been praised from far and wide, in and out of the UK. Be it because it’s the only Vagina Museum in the whole world. Be it because it encourages everyone to have a healthier and more aware relationship with their bodies. Be it because it fights the social stigmatisation of words like vulva and vagina without renouncing to some cheeky puns. For all of these reasons, the museum rapidly found a place in many people’s hearts, including ours.
We must admit we’re a bit partial. After all, it was one of our employees, Marc Shalet, that introduced us to the project, him being the proud partner of founder Florence Schelter. That’s how we discovered all about Florence’s story. With a background in Biochemistry and Science Communication, she spent many years combining her knowledge, presenting skills and comedian persona on TV, radio and stage. During her journey, she realised a couple of things: first, the gynaecological anatomy has always received less attention than it deserves – even in the scientific/medical community. Second, people (women themselves!) are not so aware of their bodies or comfortable about speaking of them. Third, the world already had a Phallological Museum in Iceland. Why not a Vagina Museum? That’s how she decided to roll up her sleeves and create one. The Vagina Museum started its life in 2017 as a series of pop-up displays and events throughout the UK, until a crowdfunding campaign was launched in March 2019 to fund the world’s first bricks-and-mortar museum dedicated to the gynaecological anatomy. That’s when we at AML first heard of the project, and we were soon keen on supporting it. We donated, we spread the word and, after the opening in October 2019, we enjoyed a brilliant private tour by Florence – one of us, our copywriter Silvia, even joined as a Front of House volunteer.
A visit has much to offer. The exhibition space is engaging and informative, while the shop is sure to be putting a smile on your face while you wander between quirky jewellery, sassy postcards and all sort of merch. The book shop deserves a special mention as the sector that best embodies not only the feminist values but also the LGBTQ+ inclusiveness that the Vagina Museum firmly stands by. The museum is currently displaying its first exhibition “Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How To Fight Them”, a series of informative content aimed to debunk myths and wrong assumptions still circulating in popular culture. It will be on until the 29th of March, while the new one “Periods: a Brief History” will open on the 4th of April.
So, looking forward to / for International Women’s Day, why not plan an inspiring, educational, totally free-of-charge visit to the Vagina Museum? Take your daughters, maybe. Take your sons, definitely. Take your friends, sisters, grandfathers, neighbours. And say hello to Florence for us.