If you clicked on this link, you’re clearly my sort of people – because who wouldn’t be curious about what it takes to run a museum full of penises?
Luckily, there’s a man with experience ready and willing to let us all in on the family secrets.
Hjotur Gisli Sigurosson curates the Icelandic Phallological Museum, a vocation handed down by a father who indulged a penis fascination by collecting interesting specimens wherever he ran across them.
Hjotur was just 10 when his father, Sigurour Hjartarson, began his collection in 1974. The first specimen was a “pizzle,” or a dried bull’s penis, that was given to Sigurour as a joke. He began a collection that grew until he opened it to the public in 1997.
Hjotur never thought the collection was odd, and recalls time spent with his father fondly.
“I had great adventures going to remote places to harvest organs with my father,” he told Mental_Floss.
The collection includes mostly Icelandic mammal specimens, harvested from dead animals (like beached whales) or given to the family by hunters. Hjotur says, though, that they “never ask for an animal to be killed just to harvest the organ.”
They have one human specimen.
“It was from a 95-year-old man. He signed a letter of donation in 1996, and when he died in 2011 a doctor removed his penis.”
The collection also includes 23 “mystical creature” penises, like “elves, trolls, and mermen,” though Hjotur acknowledges that “some, we suspect, are man-made.”
The museum sells every practical object in the shape of a penis you could ever want – cutlery, lamps, bottle openers, etc – so basically, now you know where to go before your next bachelorette party!
Hjotur isn’t ashamed of the collection, as “there is nothing pornographic or offensive on display,” and he points out that people from all over the world come to visit.
“The reaction is 99.9% positive. Most people see the humorous side and some get very into the scientific angle of it. Most people enter not knowing what to expect and come out smiling or laughing. Last year, we had a little over 20,000 visitors.”
He thinks, too, that seeing the, um, variety might help people understand that when it comes to anatomy, there is no “normal.”
“You’ll learn that as with everything in nature, the diversity in this department is as great as in any other; even within the same species the difference in size and shake is often quite remarkable.”
Hjotur, like his father before him, is always adding to his collection – “a new one, a bigger, better one, a different one” – and he’s open to starting a gallery that honors phallic art in all forms, too.
If you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path on your next trip to Iceland, well, how can you pass this up? It’s education, it’s entertainment – what more could you ask for in a tour stop?