ATLAS OBSCURA

Portrait of Sigurður Hjartarson (photograph by Ernir Eyjólfsson)

The Icelandic Phallological Museum - Reykjavik, Iceland

In a quest to have an example of every Icelandic mammal penis, the Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavík has 283 specimens. The collection was started in 1997 by a retired teacher named Sigurður Hjartarson, whose concentrated curiosity on this mammalian aspect of anatomy turned from eccentric obsession to institution.

"Collecting penises is like collecting anything," Hjartarson told Global Post. "You can never stop, you can never catch up, you can always get a new one, a better one."

Well, everyone needs a hobby… This undertaking includes whales, seals, a hamster, and “a rogue polar bear,” as well as mythological creatures like a merman, elves, and trolls, although those last two are invisible per Icelandic lore. They’re either dried or preserved in formaldehyde, although this didn’t go well for the only human specimen donated in 2011, which is now in a shriveled state. However, other donors are already interested in contributing to the museum.

Curious Fact of the Week: Icelandic Phallological Museum