Florence Schechter is the founder and Director of London’s most vibrant new cultural spot: the Vagina Museum.
Based in Camden Market in London, Schechter’s initiative is a break from the common conception of a museum — a place with faded gold coins, over-priced tickets and an air of superiority.
Instead, it’s a vibrant, informal place packed with informational posters, sculptures and vaginally-themed products.
When it opened in late 2019, the first exhibition was called “Muff Busters,” challenging preconceptions about pubic hair being unhygenic, or that vaginas should smell like a bouquet of flowers.
“Museums act as the custodians of history for society and give the public access to their history,” Schechter told Cosmopolitan.
“Vaginas and vulvas have often been relegated to the backs of cupboards by curators because they are commonly deemed too controversial or difficult for the public.”
The idea for the museum was born when Schechter went to Iceland and visited a well-established penis museum, and realised that there was no equivalent for vaginas.
In 2017, she teamed up with curator Sarah Creed, who has more than 10 years’ experience at museums and galleries including the British Museum. Together they raised £50,000 ($65,000) in four months to support the opening through a crowdfunder.
Schechter and Creed were at pains to stress that the museum is intended to challenge deep-rooted body image issues and grapple with a lack of knowledge about gynaecological anatomy. Recent polls find 52% of British people are unable to describe the function or even visibly identify the vagina. 47% could not do so for the labia, and 58% for the urethra.Tags: Culture, Museum, Vagina Museum UK