People using a popular co-working space in Reykjavik, Iceland, have been forced to warn tourists that their office is not a ‘Penis Museum’.
Reykjavik’s Icelandic Phallological Museum is famous. It gets thousands of visitors a year.
Given so few speak the language, a lot of people confuse the phallic attraction for The Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF) office, which shares the same building.
After having so many members of the public barge into their office asking where they might find male genitalia, workers have been forced to erect a sign that reads: “This is not the penis museum. You can’t miss it. It has a big penis logo. Sincerely, the people who work here.”
The sign was spotted by Icelandic Pirate Party politician Ásta Helgadóttir.
The tweet has spread, and some even recall confusing the office with the penis museum, even going so far as to trouble the workers with requests for directions.
Eventually, the sign’s creator Jonatan Van Hove caught wind of its new fame.
He told Newsweek: “It was on the second floor, so they’d come in through the two front doors, climb the stairs, somehow find my office, which was the closest to the door, and they would ask ‘Excuse me, is this the penis museum?’
“Some people were too embarrassed to ask about it. Others would ask me super-seriously about the phallological museum.”
The notice was first put up in April last year. Jonatan was moved to act after being asked about the penis museum three times in a single day.
He conceded that it took a while to get right. He didn’t want to make it too funny, or people would think it a joke. But he didn’t want to be too boring and serious either.
“It was hard,” he said.
American Jason Sega thinks he and his girlfriend helped inspire the missive:
“We were walking the beautiful streets of Reykjavík, try to follow the (not good!) directions from the museums web site,” Jason recounted on Twitter.
“We found what we thought was the correct address, walked in – and were greeted by a bunch of friendly but confused workers in cubicles. ‘What are you looking for?’ They asked, after they realized we were just dumb American tourists.
“I guess the word ‘phallological’ is not commonly known to Icelandic English speakers. But she tried again: ‘the phallological museum! Phalusses!’
“We tried to look up ‘phallus’ in our English to Icelandic dictionary. No luck! So finally, frustrated, she said ‘the PENIS museum!!!’
“After they stopped laughing, they were very helpful in providing directions to the correct location and we had a wonderful visit. Can’t wait to go back!!”
It might not surprise you to learn that The Icelandic Phallological Museum continues to reel in the punters.
The venue describes itself as “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”.
It features more than 215 penises and penile parts, all of which come from mammals from land and sea.
The collection’s most recent addition is a human penis. It came in April 2011, and was a donate from Pall Arson, who died in January of the same year.
Visitor Shelley Gibson gave the museum five stars on Google and expressed her appreciation of the display.
She did, however, mention how difficult it was to locate.
“I had a little trouble finding it but was pointed in the right direction,” wrote Shelley.