Fancy running a museum about menstruation? This is your chance. There’s one complete collection, about something that’s relevant to half the world’s population, just lying in boxes, gathering dust while waiting for a new location.
The Museum of Menstruation & Women’s Health (MUM) was founded by Harry Finley (1942). Yes, a man. Finley became fascinated by the subject when he was collecting magazine advertisements, gathering inspiration for his job as a graphic designer. The way different cultures deal with the taboo subject intrigued him. This led to the idea for a museum about menstruation. A world’s first.
Finley’s menstruation museum, in the basement of his home in New Carrollton, Maryland (VS), was open to the public for four years. Currently, you can only visit the museum virtually. Mum.org is a real treasury for those wanting to know more about the cultural aspects of menstruation. You can easily fill a couple of days browsing the website. No surprise, as the founder has been collecting anything and everything about the subject for years.
The result is an impressive collection of vintage advertisements, historical sanitary products, medical tools, couture and art, anthropologic artefacts and rare educational material. But currently, all this is gathering dust, waiting for a new platform. Finley is actively searching a suitable replacement he can donate his collection to.
‘I want a group of women to start a new museum,’ Finley says. ‘The reason: too many women don’t like a man connected with a menstruation museum.’ If a group of women would provide a good location and fulfil all the necessary requirements, Finley would donate the about 5000 items to the new museum. Another possibility is that a permanent display of a worldwide history of menstruation would be created in an already existing museum.
Want to read more about the plans? Visit Mum.org/future.
(Photo’s: above neetalparekh /Flickr, below Harry Finley in his museum / MUM).