'Outpouring of support' as Vagina Museum seeks new home - Museums Association

‘Outpouring of support’ as Vagina Museum seeks new home

Organisation needs to secure new premises by the end of September
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Rebecca Atkinson
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The Vagina Museum team from left: Florence Schechter, Zoe Williams and Sarah Creed
The Vagina Museum team from left: Florence Schechter, Zoe Williams and Sarah Creed Angus Young

The Vagina Museum is seeking a new home after its landlord, Camden Market, decided not to renew its lease.

The museum opened in the iconic north London market at the end of 2019 after a successful crowdfunding campaign led by its founder Florence Schechter. However, it now faces becoming homeless by the end of September if it is unable to secure new premises.

In a recent thread on Twitter, the museum said that the market would be turning its current premises into a clothes shop and had not been able to offer an alternative “fit for purpose”. Even before this, the museum had been looking for a larger space having realised that “demand for a museum dedicated to vaginas, vulvas and the gynaecological anatomy [exceeds] physical capacity”.

The first tweet in a thread the museum posted to raise awareness of its situation

The museum says it needs a space that is at least 2,000 square feet in a commercial or cultural quarter of London. It needs to be wheelchair accessible and cost no more than £35/sq foot a year.

Currently occupying 1,300 square feet, the museum’s long-term intention was to grow bigger and eventually find permanent premises by 2030. It is hoped that it may be able use the situation to expand slightly, giving it more space to accommodate visitors and further displays and potentially allow room for outreach work.

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It is also seeking a storage option if it is unable to find suitable premises where it can store its exhibition and collection.

Following the Twitter call-out, Zoe Williams, the museum’s development and marketing manager, told Museums Journal that it is exploring some “promising leads”.

“Nothing has been confirmed yet but the public call really helped bring to light some options that we hadn’t otherwise considered,” she said. “It was great to see such an outpouring of love and support.”

A spokesperson for Camden Market said: "We were excited to welcome the Vagina Museum to Camden Market in 2019. We liaised directly with Camden Council and secured a temporary 24-month planning permission to accommodate them.

“Unfortunately, this planning permission is due to expire and as a result we have already offered a new, larger location that fits the requirements of this business for a rental fee in line with current expectations. This offer has been declined, however, we are still happy to negotiate with the team should interest change at all.”

The Vagina Museum will remain open until 19 September showing its exhibition Periods: A Brief History. Anyone able to help the museum secure new premises and/or office and storage space is asked to contact info@vaginamuseum.co.uk.

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