I have wanted to go to the Vagina Museum in London for quite a while now. The world’s first bricks-and-mortar vagina museum opened last October but even before that it was on my radar. It was a temporary pop-up affair before that and before the move to their permanent premises, they were advertising for a Curator. I
As I said at the time, I didn’t know that I wanted to be a Curator of a Vagina Museum but having seen the advert, I realised that this was all I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t actually apply for the job, you understand. I have no qualifications or experience that would make me a good fit for that job other than having a vagina and a love of museums. I’m not sure that the first was even a required qualification.
Yesterday, I got to fulfil at least one of my dreams by going to visit The Vagina Museum for myself. Undeterred by the soggy presence of Storm Dennis, gentleman friend and I went to Camden Market for the afternoon. Camden Market is very much a tourist destination. It’s a marvellous collection of weirdy little shops and market stalls. If you want steampunk corsets, juggling diabolos or genital piercing jewellery, this is the place for you.
I feel a bit sorry for overseas tourists in London when you see them battling winds and drizzle and darkness at four o’clock in the afternoon in order to see the sights of London. But then I figure, it’s probably all part of the genuine London Experience. No-one expects it not to rain in London, do they? They’re probably a bit disappointed when they encounter one of our rare days of blue sky and no actual water coming down from the sky. Happily, any tourist who books their visit for February isn’t risking any chance of that.
The museum itself is small. The current exhibition is “Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How To Fight Them” and that’s all there is. There is no permanent exhibition yet, it seems. It’s basically a room full of informative posters with an art installation in the corner.
My enthusiasm for the museum existing in the first place is still outweighing the fact that there isn’t a great deal to it when you actually get there. I’m just happy it’s there but would be nice if there were some historic items of interest in their collection. It would give the whole place a bit more substance. Even the Pencil Museum in Keswick (another one room museum full of informative posters) has the world’s biggest pencil in the middle of it.
It has a smashing book shop, it has to be said. The choice of books is diverse and eclectic but all makes sense from an empowerment of women perspective. Little Women and Michelle Obama’s autobiography sit alongside A Celebration of Vulva Diversity. I bought Emma L. E. Rees’s The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History.
The gift shop is witty, fun and crammed full of fannies. I may have stocked up on vulva-themed postcards.
I want to support the Vagina Museums. I’m very much in favour of supporting anything which encourages people to talk about vaginas and their very useful contribution to the world. They run a series of events which this month include Bajinga Bingo and a Vulva Cake Decorating workshop.
Overall, though, I was a bit disappointed by the paucity of the current exhibit. I came away thinking “Well, it’s a bit small and there’s not much to it’ which is something you really don’t want to be thinking after a vaginal encounter.