Homo Gigantus Islandicus

According to its website, the Icelandic Phallological Museum is, "probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country."

In summary: over 150 different penises under one roof. Polar bears, reindeer, mice, minks, Arctic foxes, whales and seals, oh my! How could anyone resist a photo gallery with phallic navigation images? And such charming specimen descriptions:

SPERM WHALE (Pottwhale, cachalot) Physeter catodon.

a) Adult caught by the Hjalfjörður whaling station in 1975. Skin flattened, tanned.

b) An old male beached on the south coast in January 1992. Hollowed , salted, dried, placed on a wooden plaque.

c) Adult beached along with two others on the north-east coast in June 1995. Skin tanned for neckties, bowties etc.

There's even a folklore section:

TROLL Homo gigantus Islandicus. Young boy, thoroughly petrified. Found in N-Iceland in 1941.

"We're going to the Penis Museum!" I announced to anyone who would listen, passing strangers, bus drivers, The Mothership ("Hmmm, interesting," — The Mothership). But alas, from September to April the Museum has is only open from Thursday to Saturday. We would be out of Reykjavik on the Thursday and would fly home Friday morning. Noooo!

I emailed the lovely old Museum dude explaining that I came all the way from Australia and while not a phallologist by trade, I did have a genuine interest in and appreciation of the subject. He replied very promptly:

Dear Shauna. Yes, that´s right, from September I am only open Thutsday-Saturday [sic] but I could open for you on Tuesday. Would you be ready at about 12 o´clock? Please let me know.

What a top bloke! But then I realised that at 12 o'clock we'd still be sitting in the airport at Glasgow. I emailed back and thanked him for his kind offer but sadly we wouldn't be in the city until a few hours later. But I remained optimistic that it would somehow happen. That night I dreamed we rocked up and the dude was there to give us the grand tour. We gave him a box of Scottish shortbread wrapped in eucalyptus leaves to show our gratitude, and to make some sort of bizarre cross-cultural statement.

On Tuesday afternoon we went by the Museum, just in case. It was on a little street just like another little Reykjavik street, a bright orange building up a little alley, a rusty bicycle slumped against the wall. (What had we expected? A soaring tower on top of a mountain?)

The weather was nasty. Cold and crooked rain spat at us, fierce winds sent the penis-shaped weather vane into a spin. My raincoat was helpfully back in the hostel, so I wrapped my scarf round my head like I'd fled a war-torn country. I was a pathetic sight, soaked to the bone and tapping hopefully at a window decorated with shiny tiny faux-stained-glass penises.

Of course no one was home. Except for the 150+ penises. But we were content to press our noses to the glass and squint and ponder, "Oh, perhaps that's the walrus one".

all indications point to a north wind

As a small consolation, we saw this shop on the way back to the hostel…

don't go to that URL, btw, it's crap

And I think to myself, what a wonderful URL.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

18 thoughts on “Homo Gigantus Islandicus

  1. Kind of curious about what they’d sell in their gift shop. Too bad you didn’t get a chance to pick up some christmas gifts.

  2. I was wondering whether you’d gotten a chance to see that.

    Also, I see that graffiti tagging is the same in Iceland as it is everywhere else. (Much like ducks, it seems.)

  3. Some designer must have had a lot of fun with the erotica shop logo. Such a fascinating composition of various symbols united into something oddly resembling a “do not enter” traffic sign… Take a look at the tiny, tiny pen.is URL underneath that gigantic cherry with its seriously phallic stem stuck right between the S and the Hop… I am very afraid.

    (Sorry you were not let into the museum… not this time…)…

  4. What’s a whoosh? It sounds like a phallologist would probably have a constant mouthfull of it though.

    Come to think of it, I don’t even know what a pint is, apart from it being way better than a schooner.

  5. The Icelandic Phallological Museum site has a list of “Honorary Members” with a key at the bottom explaining that an “O” indicates an expelled member. Besides all the jokes you can make about “members”; I want to know what you have to do to be kicked out, especially because he lists everyone’s name, full address, and whether they’re an upstanding member.

  6. I know of a professor that used a whale baculum as a pointer in his vertebrate biology class. Great post.

    Thanks for being part of my “100 Blogs, 100 Comments.”

  7. Hehehe, I liked the idea of the folklore section. There’s something pleasantly surreal about a museum of real things that has a section for things that don’t really exist.

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