There is a museum in this world that completely dedicated to the male genitalia – the penis. No, it’s not a joke. In all shapes and sizes, taken off more than 200 different species. Officially the place is called the Icelandic Phallological Museum, or Hið íslenzka reðasafn in Icelandic, but in short people call it the Penis Museum. Located by the harbor in central Reykjavik, this museum can brighten up even the grayest, rainiest day in Iceland’s capital.
Phallology is the scientific study of the penis.
How the Penis Museum started
So how does one come up with this idea you may wonder. Founder and former teacher Sigurður Hjartarson (born 1941) was apparently fascinated by the male genitalia from a young age. Now to some people that may sound worrisome, but this man made an interesting museum out of his offbeat hobby. The museum moved from Husavik to Reykjavik and is now visited by about 12,000 people a year. Actually already more than 17 million people have eyed his penis collection since the opening in 1997.
The story goes that after hearing about Sigurður’s childhood fascination, a colleague gave him a bull’s penis as a holidays’ gift. After that, the ball started rolling, receiving more and more animals’ penises; from colleagues, whale butchers, from abroad. And now, after decades of collecting and cataloguing, the hobby that got out of hand has grown into the world’s largest penis collection on public display.
Nowadays, the Penis Museum is managed by the founder’s son, Hjörtur Gísli Sigurðsson (born 1964). He modernized the museum to what it is today. A unique sight his father can be very proud of. The aim is to get other, more and better specimens. If you think about how many animal species there are in the world that have a penis, you can imagine how endless the task is to complete this collection one day.
What to see at the Penis Museum
What is on display in the Penis Museum is world-wide the most complete private collection of 215 male sex organs (and penile parts). From cats to reindeer to horses to whales, you will find it at the Penis Museum in Reykjavik.
There is phallic art and there are decorative design items, such as lampshades made from bulls’ balls hanging down from the ceiling. And penises carved from wood by the founder. Like some sort of hunting trophies, the walls are full of plaques with huge dried penises. Who would have known animal kingdom came in so many different shapes and sizes?
And for those who started wondering – yes, the Penis Museum also includes a human penis. Not kidding. The Penis Museum received its first homo sapiens genitals in 2011. It was donated by a 95-year-old man from Akureyri in North Iceland who was said to be a womanizer. And there’s Elmo, the penis of an American man called Tom Mitchell – there’s even a comic book about him.
And apparently they’re not the only one looking for eternal fame. American actor and television presenter Jonah Falcon – also known for his large-sized penis – has accepted the proposal to display his penis publicly in the museum after his future death. Right next to the whale’s. As in Jonas and the Whale, the biblical story? Nope, not kidding.
In Roman times, jewelry with penis shapes was common, usually worn by young men. It was then believed that it protected them against evil and envy.
The entire male Icelandic national handball team has been immortalized after winning silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The museum includes a collection of silver sculptures of their full size penises. Humor, right?
The tiniest member of the Penis Museum collection is that of a hamster (2mm). The largest is longer than me (!), which is the penis of a huge blue whale. Wow, impressive!
Most penises are displayed upright in glass jars, preserved in transparent formaldehyde fluid. Some limp, some in erect state. Informative displays and boards tell us more about the different animals’ approaches to mating. Interesting, pretty funny facts and insights are shared. For example, you can learn about the mating habits of pets and wild animals like giraffes. Whether they are sexually loyal to one partner or not. Fascinating.
There is even information about alleged mating patterns and the genitals of mythical figures such as elves. The collection of the Penis Museum in Reykjavik is really well set up, with a professional and modern presentation. The great thing is that the museum managed to create quite cozy atmosphere. Soft light helps to make things look as good as possible, right?
The Penis Museum: what to expect
This odd museum filled with one man’s obsessive collection of penises is both fun and worth visiting. A must-see when in Reykjavik, if you’re asking me. For sure it will give you something to tell your friends back home, about this unique collection you witnessed in Iceland. The world’s only museum devoted to penises.
Seriously, visiting the Penis Museum in Reykjavik is an educational, unique learning experience. Bringing kids can be acceptable – as long as you keep them from running around or yelling please. Sure, other explorers may also giggle a little bit. Or talk with hushed voices about the stuff they are reading and seeing at the Penis Museum. For those who are interested, a multi-language audio tour is available.
When you enter the door from the street, you go down the stairs, where you will find a phallic-themed coffee shop. I’d suggest to try the waffles and artisan coffee after your museum visit. Buy your tickets at the cashier and go see the collection. There are also a toilet and a gift shop. The shop contains some great souvenirs to remember the visit at home or as a gift to someone. Staff is super friendly.
The Penis Museum might be relatively small, but big enough to keep you entertained for about 30-60 min. Literally and figuratively speaking, the Penis Museum stands out of the other sights in and around Reykjavik. Put it on your Iceland to do list and have some fun!
Visit the Icelandic Penis Museum
The entrance fee for the Penis Museum in Reykjavik is ISK 2500 for adults (app. EUR 14 or USD 17). Pensioners and disabled people pay a reduced admission fee. Kids of 12 years and younger can get in the Penis Museum for free, under the condition that they are accompanied by their parents.
You can find the Penis Museum at: Kalkofnsvegur 2 in Reykjavik. Simply use Google Maps.
The opening hours of the Penis Museum are: daily from 10:00h till 19:00h.
You may also be interested to…
- find out what other museums and attractions in and around Reykjavik there are, such as Perlan with the ice cave and Aurora how or the Whales of Iceland Exhibition
- check out the article 20x street art that will brighten your day in Reykjavik (including accommodation tips)
- read the article The five World War 2 museums that made the greatest impression on me
Interested to read more articles about Iceland? Check out the Iceland Blog Archives! More articles will follow soon.
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Last Updated on 07/28/2021 by Elisa Flitter Fever