MUM Picks the
Third Member of Its Board of Directors!
This museum is proud to announce that Dr. Barbara Czerwinski, associate professor
of nursing at the University of Texas at Houston, is a new member of the
board for the future non-profit Museum of Menstruation!
Dr. Czerwinski helped develop the hygienic facilities
for the space shuttle,
and is now conducting a study of the hygienic
requirements of the women in the U.S. military for
the Department of Defense.
The museum picked Dr.
Philip M. Tierno, Jr., of the New York University Medical Center, as
its first board member, and Miki Walsh for its
The Museum of Menstruation is becoming a non-profit corporation,
and is searching for board members
to guide its future development.
The purpose of this museum is to create
exhibits and other information for the general public, and resources for
scholars, that show the place of menstruation and women's health in world
a very silly museum"
The teenage daughter of an Australian acquaintance
recently sent me this letter (I retain here the punctuation and form of
the original, which I print complete, except for the signature):
"you have a very silly museum .
. . it's weird. my mum [!] thinks it's cool . . . i think it's grot . .
. . but don't close it down because it's funny . . . .
did you open it because you don't get
periods and felt bad and got a raw deal from the omni-present one??
if you want we can swap and you can have
my periods for me every month, I'm a generous and giving person.
thank you for the period diaphragm thingy
[an Instead cup I sent her mother] it's grot and I wouldn't want to take it out
after I've used it . . . "[this
last comment is typical
I think grot means yucky;
anyone know for sure?
Expanding the Mission of MUM
to Include Women's Health
Not only will the MUM of the future concern itself with
the world-wide phenomenon of menstruation, it will display histories of
various aspects of women's health. (Menstruation, by the way, does not equal "ill health"
in some vague way. You do not go to the doctor to have your hair cut. Menstruation
IS, just as hair IS; both can show signs of ill health, but neither IS ill
health. Am I being too philosophical?)
For example, exhibits could show
- a history of the treatment for breast cancer
- the changing views of the differences between men and women
- the practice of infibulation
- the story of how epidemiological
studies have almost always used male subjects, and why
- the beginnings
of modern gynecology (Marion Sims) with the controversial
use of American slaves to correct the terrible problem of genitourinary fistula, which
could make women life-long social outcasts after childbirth
- an account of the changing
practice of childbirth
- the development of sanitary
facilities, including those of the space shuttle (now
that we have THE expert on the board of directors
As far as I know, there are few if any displays treating
these important subjects, because they are not polite. Menstruation is also not polite, which
means that this museum is a great place to discuss them.
This reminds me of two
critical letters written about MUM, which touch on politeness and the
issue of menstruation's being none of my - meaning me, the director of MUM
- business, because I am male. Both are anonymous. One MUM received directly
from Cheyenne, Wyoming; Megan Rosenfeld, who wrote the story about MUM for
the Washington Post (15 April 1995), received the other one at the Post
and sent it to me. (See also how
the Post investigated me, an illustration of just what I am talking
about.) Both illustrate why MUM is necessary. A retired federal
judge also wrote MUM, but came to a different conclusion; it's worth
So what better place to discuss things people don't want
to discuss than MUM?
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