This Is What It's Like to Work in a Penis Museum
The people who work in the Icelandic Phallological Museum -- aka "The Penis Museum" -- are the first to admit that the job can bring a bit of awkwardness.
"We get a lot of giggles," says Þóröur (pronounced Thor-thur), a man identified as the assistant curator of the Phallological Museum in Reykjavík. The travel video creator Joe Hansen interviewed Þóröur and toured his workplace for his engrossing video series "Joe Goes." This week's videos took the world traveler to Iceland, home to the repository of male genitalia from elephants, whales, hamsters, and about 300 other penises this world has to offer, "some of them quite impressive," according to Þóröur.
"There's nothing pornographic about it," he says as the video pans over exhibits and images of illustrated penis comparisons. (Michael Jackson is depicted as having much smaller junk than Pee-Wee Herman and Thomas Edison, for example.) "The humor is subtle. You know, it's very child-friendly."
The museum was started by Sigurður Hjartarson, a history teacher for 37 years, whose friend brought him an assortment of severed penises from a whaling station, Þóröur explains. "He hung them out to dry. This became an ongoing joke at the workplace, and after a few years you have a collection of penises." Hjartarson eventually moved the collection from the college he taught at to a Reykjavík museum location in 1997. Eventually, it passed to his son Hjörtur Gísli Sigurðsson in 2012, making him, as Slate once pointed out, "probably the world’s only hereditary penis-museum operator."
Its smallest penis is a hamster penis bone, which is set up behind a magnifying glass, while its largest penis is a six-foot-plus standing display case that houses the penis of a sperm whale. "It is only a part of it," Þóröur says. "Two-thirds of the penis are missing" -- a statement which sounds as terrifying as is to read when it's uttered by a tall, long-haired Icelandic man, speaking as if he's surrounded by the serenity of life itself. Þóröur is by far the highlight of the clip, especially when he points to a giant elephant dick while holding a mug coffee, and -- with the straightest face in the world -- says, "Not many people realize that elephants are actually huge."
The whole video is worth a watch and verifies exactly why the Penis Museum is one of the weirdest museums in the world. It even breaks down the history behind a "penis bow tie" -- funny and fashionable.
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