I’m always thinking of you, my loyal readers. A few of you have asked me to do a visit/report on one particular place in Iceland. Given the amount of stupid comments that this place gets on the visitors book on its own website, I’m a little nervous about this post…yes, I visited the world’s only Penis Museum on your behalf.
The Icelandic Phallological Museum was based in Reykjavík for many years but moved up to Húsavík in northern Iceland for a few years. At the end of 2011, it returned to Reykjavík and as I constantly found myself walking past it I had no excuse not to visit on my last trip even though it really isn’t my cup of tea. It also happens to be one of the few things open in the city on a Sunday morning!
I had a to do a go around the first time I was going to go in as there was some weird man smoking outside who I didn’t like the look of. I had the feeling he was working there and there were probably no other visitors and basically I just didn’t want to deal with him. It’s hard work being me sometimes! When I did go in, he wasn’t an employee there as I had feared and in fact I should probably mention that the man working there was very nice and knowledgeable and probably sick to death of hearing a chorus of sniggering tourists all day.
So, what is the museum like? It’s not huge, but there really are a lot of specimens there. You are given a catalogue which not only tells you what everything is but the circumstances in which they received it, along the lines of: “Narwhal: A young adult, hunted off the coast of East-Greenland in October 2000. Length of tooth ca. 120 cm. In formalin.” (I’ve just noticed the catalogue is on their website!) Sometimes there were also photos of the actual animal the “exhibit” is from. Really, I found all of that bit quite interesting.
What I wasn’t so keen on were the actual “exhibits”. There was a huge range in sizes, shapes, etc. I actually felt a bit queasy at times, a bit like when we went to the Bodyworlds exhibit and I thought I might throw up. Something about knowing these really came off of living creatures and weren’t just models makes me feel ill.
Yes, there were human ones too. In fact, I think some of the donors are still alive from reading their information so who knows how that happened. At least they have donated by choice I suppose, unlike the poor animals! You can read about one of the human donors here.
There were only a few other people there in couples and there was a general mix of either laughter or people making horrified noises. In either case, at least you can’t say it’s a boring museum.
In all seriousness, the curators obviously have put a lot of work into this and are doing their bit for scientific research. It’s a shame that probably most of the visitors that come in are coming for a bit of a laugh. I probably would have liked it more if I wasn’t quite so squeamish about medical things! Give it a try, it’s probably the only museum of its kind that you will ever visit.
Would you like to visit this place?