There’s sad news for fans of the world’s only vagina museum has it’s announced that it’s closing its doors.
After a request for an extension of its physical lease, the museum in Camden, London, was forced to go online.
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 was initially set up as pop-ups throughout the UK. It finally found a permanent home at Stables Market, 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. This was also why I visited that area of London during my last trip. I also spent time at other businesses.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “It was a wonderful place to take my children to, so they know that I am not at all scared of it all. Their mother was also dragged there by them, making it six visitors to a London area we had been meaning to visit but never did. They would do it again with a different 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. Lots of online stuff, many 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 walking by.”
Daily Star reached out LabTech to provide comment.