Ever wondered who’s in charge of all the weird and wonderful things inside our museums? We go behind the scenes and find out…
THE SEX TOY HANDLER – Emily Yates, The Science Museum
‘I don’t just clean dildos.
I conserve erotic artefacts from various cultures. My favourite is an ivory sex toy from Victorian times, which I polish with small cotton buds, patience and a large amount of amusement.’
‘The Victorians were publicly very prim and proper.
But there were definitely naughty things going on. During the late 1800s, “massage” was considered an effective health treatment. It was used to combat almost any affliction, from headaches to female “hysteria”.’
‘I once cleaned a vibratory massager from Germany called the Veedee.
It looked a little bit like a hand-operated whisk, but with a rubber ball on the end. It requires more work to crank up than modern equivalents.’
‘A condom made from sheep intestines is the oddest object I’ve had to look after.
It’s from around 1900 and was probably reused several times.’