The Vagina Museum team Florence Schechter, Zoe Williams and Sarah Creed (Photo by Angus Young)
London’s Vagina Museum is set to reopen this month with an exhibition dedicated to the history of menstruation.
The Vagina Museum, which started as a pop-up in 2017, opened as the world’s first museum dedicated to vaginas, vulvas and gynaecological anatomy in September 2019. The bricks-and-mortar museum in Camden market was closed for much of 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic, but it’s set to open its doors once again on Friday, 21 May.
The Vagina Museum will be celebrating its reopening with a temporary exhibit titled “Periods: A Brief History“. The exhibition will examine the historic perceptions and beliefs around menstruation and the impact this has had on society. It will also highlight the ongoing issues that surround periods, how menstruation is perceived and how a lack of understanding has impacted the lives of people in the modern age.
Sarah Creed, the curator of the Vagina Museum, said in a statement that it is “more pertinent now, more than ever” to focus on periods as menstrual health activism is “growing throughout the world” – “and the UK is no exception”. She highlighted just some of the charities including Bloody Good Period, Red Box Project and Tricky Period who are raising awareness about the “issues surrounding access to menstrual products and menstrual health”.
“But where has this all originated from?” Creed questioned. “Why is there still such a lack of understanding in the general population about what a period actually is?”
She continued: “We hope to investigate this by tracking how menstruation has been perceived and dealt with throughout history, tapping into just some of the hundreds of theories and societal beliefs that still reverberate in discussions to this day.”
The Vagina Museum’s upcoming “Periods: A Brief History” exhibition is sponsored by British cosmetics company The Body Shop. Linda Campbell, managing director of The Body Shop UK and RoI, said the retailer has “always been proud to fight for a better world for women and girls” worldwide, but there is “still a lot of work to do in this space”.
She added The Body Shop is proud to be partnering with the Vagina Museum to help “educate many thousands of people on issues of gynaecological health while busting the damaging taboos that so negatively affect the confidence and self-love of people who menstruate”.
“We hope this upcoming exhibition will provide a fun, free and informative space in which we can help further the dialogue surrounding periods and female empowerment,” Campbell said.
“Periods: A Brief History” exhibition at the Vagina Museum is free and opens on 21 May 2021. Guests will need to book ahead of time as capacity is limited due to social distancing requirements.