The Vagina Museum has found a new venue after it was evicted from its last home earlier this year. But staff say they must meet an ambitious fundraising target of £85,000 to secure the new property.
The museum says it is an “now-or-never” struggle to reopen and has managed to raise £42,000 so far through crowdfunding and donations. Their fundraising deadline is early June.
The new site is a pair of railway arches in East London that have the capacity to house a modest exhibition and event space.
“We were willing to think creatively and this pair of railway arches suited all of our needs and ticked every single box that we had in our property search,” one of the museum’s managers, Zoe Williams, told us, “and it’s in a great area not very far from our old home in Bethnal Green.”
Of the £42,000 raised so far, around £10,000 has come from friends and family of staff and volunteers. “We’ve all been badgering everyone we know,” Williams added.
“This is crunch time,” said the museum’s director, Florence Schechter, “we urgently need a substantial cash injection.”
The museum, which describes itself as “the world’s first bricks-and-mortar museum dedicated to vaginas, vulvas and the gynaecological anatomy”, launched in 2017 as a pop-up. It has always offered free entry to the public, relying on merchandise sales and donations to survive.
It found its first permanent home in Camden Market in 2019 before closing for the duration of the pandemic. In 2022, the museum relaunched at a site in Bethnal Green as part of a property guardianship scheme. It was unexpectedly evicted from the site in March this year.
Parts of the permanent exhibition are being stored at the homes of the museum’s staff and volunteers until it reopens in a secure home.
If the fundraising target is met and the new site is secured, the museum expects to reopen in late summer.