Icelandic Phallological Museum

Mar 26, 2016 0 comments

The Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavík is the world’s only museum devoted to the male genitalia. It contains over 280 specimens representing 93 different species of land and sea animals, including humans, and it was all collected by one person.

It started as a joke. In 1974, Sigurður Hjartarson was a 33-year old headmaster in a secondary school when a colleague gifted him the penis of a bull after hearing how Hjartarson had one as a boy. Soon, other teachers who worked in a nearby whaling station started bringing him whale penises, just to tease him. Eventually it gave him an idea that it might be interesting to collect specimens from more mammalian species.


Photo credit: Jennifer Boyer/Flickr

In the beginning, collecting these organs progressed slowly and by 1980 he had only 13 specimens, four from whales and nine from land mammals. The organs came from farm animals from slaughterhouses, while fishermen supplied him with those of whales and other sea animals. When a ban on commercial whaling was imposed in 1986, Hjartarson began harvesting whale penises from victims stranded on the coast. Once a polar bear came drifting on an ice floe. The fishermen shot the bear and gifted him the penis of the animal.

Sometimes he would send his family to collect for him, leading to some embarrassing situations, especially when his daughter is involved. On one occasion she was dispatched to a slaughterhouse where one of the workers asked, “What’s in the basket?”, to which she had to reply, “I’m collecting a frozen goat penis.” After that she said to her father, “I will never collect for you again.”

In 1990, his collection grew to 34 specimens and when the museum opened in Reykjavík in August 1997, he had 62. Once the museum opened, the numbers grew phenomenally. Now they contain over 280 specimens from 93 species of animals found around Iceland. Its largest exhibit is the “tip” of a blue whale's penis measuring 170 cm long and weighing 70 kilograms, while the smallest is 2mm long baculum of a hamster that needs a magnifying glass to see.


Sigurður Hjartarson, founder of the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Photo credit:

The highlight of the museum is a human specimen obtained from a native Icelander and self-proclaimed womanizer who has allegedly pleasured more than 300 women. It’s not an attractive specimen. The man was 95 years old when he died and his organ had already shrunk. Then the surgery didn’t go well and the specimen wasn’t properly sewn up. Hjartarson is now looking for better specimens and contemplates on donating his own. He has at least three more pledges from donors. One American donor wanted to have his cut off during his lifetime, but thankfully, didn’t.

The museum has plenty of penis-themed artwork and objects such as lampshades made from the scrotums of bulls, a walking stick made from a bull’s penis, carved wooden phalluses and a collection of silver-coated sculptures of penises representing the 2008 silver medal-winning Icelandic Olympic handball team. There was some speculation whether the sculptures are casts but the team's goalkeeper denies it.

The museum is a popular tourist attraction of Reykjavík and is visited by thousands each year. It is now managed by Hjartarson’s son Hjörtur Gísli Sigurðsson.


Penis collection with testicle lightshades at the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Photo credit: ThomasWF/Wikimedia


Photo credit: Ann Walsh/Flickr


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Photo credit: Jennifer Boyer/Flickr


Photo credit: Jennifer Boyer/Flickr


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Sources: Wikipedia / / Smithsonian


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