In 2019, the Vagina Museum – the world’s first to be dedicated to the female reproductive system – opened in Camden Market. Since its launch, it’s hosted exhibitions about vagina myths and periods, ran educational events, a book club, and performance art workshops, and launched a podcast.
Now, however, the museum is under threat, as Camden Market will not be renewing its lease. Detailing its plight on Instagram, the Vagina Museum said: “The pandemic has been rough for the entire museum sector. Now the Vagina Museum is at risk of becoming homeless. Camden Market (has)... decided to turn the premises into a clothes shop instead.”
The museum explained that it has been offered a new space on the top floor of the market, which it said “would effectively relegate the Vagina Museum to the top shelf and out of sight”. “This simply won’t work for us: ‘vagina’ is not a dirty word. It should be visible within the community, battling the shame attached to the word, not hidden away like a dirty mag. We explained that the unit wasn’t suitable, but they didn’t offer any alternatives.”
Although the museum is “actively pursuing leads” for a new physical space, it is urging its visitors to offer support. “Do you work somewhere which might have a building which is suitable to be the next Vagina Museum premises?” it asked. “Do you know someone who can help? If we don’t get these matters resolved, the Vagina Museum won’t exist as a physical space at the end of September.”
Speaking to Dazed, Zoe Williams, the museum’s development and marketing manager, said: “The Vagina Museum has exceeded our wildest dreams since we opened in 2019, and we have many wonderful memories of our first home and the warm reception we’ve received.”
“Since putting out our call for help, we’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support coming from people who believe that the world needs a physical museum space dedicated to educating and celebrating vaginas, vulvas, and gynaecological anatomy. We’re the only space like this in the world. Our search for a new home remains urgent.”
The Vagina Museum is looking for a space in London that’s a minimum of 2000 square feet, is in a commercial or cultural quarter, and is wheelchair accessible. Alternatively, it would be open to offers of storage space until it can find a more permanent location. If anyone has any leads, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Others interested in helping can donate to the Vagina Museum here.