World’s only vagina museum is closing its doors after ‘lease is denied’

There's sad news for fans of the world's only vagina museum has it's announced that it's closing its doors.

The museum, situated in the London borough of Camden, is being forced to go online only, after a request to extend its physical lease was reportedly denied.

LabTech is not extending the lease for the museum which ends on September 24, according to Vice.

This is despite support for the museum from Camden Council, which in 2019 said it was “incredibly excited” to host the museum in the borough.

At the time, the council said the museum would "add immeasurably to our collective understanding of our bodies".

The Vagina Museum, which aims to "dismantle taboos around female genitalia", has so far been unable to find a lease anywhere else which is affordable, accessible, and in a commercial or cultural area, despite trying.

Founder Florence Schechter, who launched the museum in 2017 after discovering that there was no gynaecological equivalent to Iceland’s Phallological Museum, told Vice that the situation was "really sh**y".

The museum began life as a series of pop-ups around the UK, before finding a physical home in Stables Market in Camden in October 2019.

A number of property owners around London have reportedly considered proposals from the museum, but all were eventually rejected.

They all reportedly offered no reason for their decision, however Florence said she believes that "institutional patriarchy" is at work.

Florence also said the the museum’s departure from Camden is a sign of increasing gentrification in the area.

She said: "I would have really liked it to be in Camden, I’m a resident and that’s why I got it in the first place.

"It was a local story. Lots of people are saying how Camden is getting really gentrified.

"Now with us gone, there’s going to be less that’s living in that rebellious Camden spirit."

The Vagina Museum has had widespread praise in the few years it has been in Camden, including endorsement from stars such as Gillian Anderson.

The 2019 exhibition Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How To Fight Them had more than 110,000 visitors, and after the recent exhibition, Periods, 89% of visitors said they knew more about the history of menstruation following their visit.

Both exhibitions also received overwhelmingly positive feedback, according to the museum’s own data.

A number of people have been sharing their sadness at the museum’s closure on Twitter.

Fiona Robertson, the Scottish National Party’s Equalities Convener said: "It was revolutionary to see the museum in a prominent space, easily accessible, and without shame.

"Healing, educational, community-based. It was also the only reason I went to that part of London on my most recent trip, which meant I spent time around other businesses too."

Another Twitter user wrote: "It was a great place to take my kids to so they know I'm not remotely freaked out by it all. They then dragged their mother there, so that's six visitors to an area of London we kept saying we ought to do but had never got around to. And would repeat with a new location."

Until the Vagina Museum can find a new lease, Florence and her team will operate from a storage unit and online until the museum finds a new lease.

"We’re going to act as though it was the pandemic – it gave us loads of practice on how to operate without a physical space. Doing lots of online stuff, online events." She said.

The Vagina Museum has an online reach of 4 million people a month, but the loss of a physical space will have a significant impact on its reach.

A quarter of visitors post-COVID said that they visited because "they were just walking by."

Daily Star has contacted LabTech for comment.

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