With large modern windows and its name crisply printed across the building, you could easily mistake Iceland’s Phallological Museum for being an office building from the outside. It’s certainly a formal appearance for a place containing the world’s largest collection of penises. Furthermore, it’s surprisingly small in size. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in variety. The collection currently holds over 280 different penises, testicles and artefacts.
The Penis Iron – an ideal present to give a feminist!
As you pay the 1000 Icelandic Kroner (approx. £5) entrance fee, you are given a booklet that identifies each genitalia to a particular creature. Naturally, by the end of your visit you innocently feel like quite the penis connoisseur.
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. 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 love 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!
From any direction, 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.
I’ll give you a clue… It’s not an elephant’s trunk…
It’s a tight squeeze, but the Sei Whale penis just about manages to fit in.
This curly number belongs to a boar!
The founder of the museum, Sigurdur Hjartarson, was in fact a headmaster when he began his ‘hobby’ of penis preserving. It started in 1974 after he revealed to a group of friends that he owned a bull’s penis as a child, to use as a cattle whip (as you do!). 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, as well as 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.
Check out this April Fool’s! ‘Erected by his pupils on April 1st 2009’
Despite all the different types of penises inside the museum, the one which is most familiar to us – the human penis – is yet to be displayed. But on the walls are several letters of willing donors, who wish to bequeath their manhood to the museum, so I guess it’s just a matter of who pops their clogs first!
The closest thing you get to a human penis are a collection of silver penis casts from the Icelandic handball team. They won the silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and what better to celebrate? (note the colour is in keeping).
Finally, as I make my way around the room, I browse through the small shop where you can buy genitalia related novelties, one of these is a lamp shade made from bull scrotum, and as disgusting as it sounds, it’s quite beautiful to look at. I’m disappointed I don’t have the money to buy one, but laugh as I read they’re made by the founder and walk out with a huge smile on my face. ‘I’ve just seen the largest collection of penises in the world’ I mutter to myself.
So which was my favourite Penis?
I gave my best pose, but I was always going to be upstaged by the penis of a sperm whale!