It may be a penis museum, but it’s not a place that can be compared to a dingily-lit sex museum in the back alley of Europe. It’s surprising how fresh and light everything appears. Glass boxes and perfectly polished glass jars are lined neatly on shelves and cabinets. It’s the kind of display you’d expect to see well preserved relics from history inside, not well preserved penises in formaldehyde. But that’s exactly why I loved this museum – it’s a complete deviation from everything you expect a museum to contain – yet this place still feels like a museum, but a very, very cheeky one! Every time I turn my head I’m greeted with penises big and small, short and fat. Some are curly and some are shrivelled; some hang down from the walls and some are in photographic form. I can’t help giggle as though I’m a mischievous 10 year old school girl peering into the boy’s locker room after PE.
The founder of Iceland's Phallological Museum in Reykjavik, Sigurdur Hjartarson, was in fact a headmaster when he began his ‘hobby’ of penis preserving. It started in 1974 after he told a group of friends that he owned a bull’s penis as a child, to use as a cattle whip. His friends loved his childhood story so much that they bought him a few more, then after that, more ‘donations’ were given, becoming more varied and adventurous. Then in 1997 when he had 62 penises to his name, he opened up the museum. This is a fabulous story, partly because this would never happen in England. Can you imagine the headline? – ‘Headmaster opens Penis Museum’ – the boring brigade would have a field day boycotting this place, and taking away his license to work with children. But luckily, Icelanders are equipped with a heavy dose of humour and overall the museum is considered a bit of a national treasure.
--excerpted from the very well illustrated post at The Culture Map
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