See the Wix tampon, instructions, patent, The Fascinating Story of Wix (and another version) and store instruction sheet. And read an ad in the Sears catalog for Wix and see a Wix tampon store display ad.
Early commercial tampons
Ads for the Kotex stick tampon (U.S.A., 1970s) - a Japanese stick tampon from the 1970s.
Early commercial tampons - Rely tampon - Meds tampon (Modess)
And, of course, the first Tampax AND - special for you! - the American fax tampon, from the early 1930s, which also came in bags.
See a Modess True or False? ad in The American Girl magazine, January 1947, and actress Carol Lynley in "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" booklet ad (1955) - Modess . . . . because ads (many dates).
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepageMUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Menstruation and giving money to PBS

Last spring [1998], as a classical music fan, I pledged support to my local public broadcasting radio station. And I did it in the name of the Museum of Menstruation.

The man taking my call said, "Museum of ...?", waiting for me to repeat the phrase. This happens often.

I said he had heard me correctly. "The word is menstruation."

"Andrew, you're blushing!" said a woman close to the man on the phone. The drive volunteer confirmed this to me.

We talked a minute about the museum and its contents and he wished me luck, which was nice of him. He even said he would visit some time, which I doubt. Probably 95% of the museum's visitors are intelligent, liberal women, and I get the impression most men come as bodyguards. They look as if they feel out of place.

Among his questions was - it always comes around to this - Why open a museum devoted to menstruation?

It's been suggested that it's my dating service. Any visitor to the museum would laugh at that.

Or that I hate women. Or that I'm a homosexual. Please.

The answer is because it's not there, to twist around the reply of mountain climbers. Like mountains, menstruation makes many people uneasy. Often you get over both by facing them - climbing mountains, learning about menstruation.

Menstruation didn't become a mountain for me until I started collecting page layouts and ads for ideas as the art director for a small magazine in Germany 15 years ago (I'm an artist). Ripping my way through hundreds of magazines from England to Japan, I noticed that ads for tampons and pads differed tremendously from one country to the next. This piqued me - I majored in pique and resolution, philosophy, at Johns Hopkins, where rooming next door to pre-med students obviously rubbed off - and when I returned to the Pentagon - yes, I work for the feds - after 13 years in Europe I offered the use of my ads to Glamour, Ms., and similar publications.

At the same time I called up the Kotex and Tampax public affairs people, asking them if they had historical displays of their products, or if they knew of a museum of menstruation anywhere. I was getting interested in the whole culture of menstruation and the marketing of its products.

Pause. "Museum of ...?" But unlike the PBS volunteer they didn't seem embarrassed, just, well, miffed somehow. Had I said something wrong?

So, of course, I had to open my own. It's been a roller coaster experience, which I will write about sometime.

The museum may be unique, but temporary displays of menstrual history are not - at least in Europe. Besides the current one in a town museum in Norway, the city museum of Frankfurt, Germany, incorporated a selection of German menstrual products history into an exhibition of the history of underwear in the late 1980's. Yes, I said city and town museums. Imagine that in the United Sates.

But no matter where the museum is, it can change lives. It has changed mine. And the changes are for the better.

© 1998 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute any of the work on this Web site in any manner
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