"Relieves All Suffering. Cures Disease." - Old Vibrator Advertisement

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Antique Vibrator Museum
Museum Hours: 12:30-6:30 Daily
(Late night Thursdays till 8:30)
Dr. Carol Queen, Curator
Polk Store Telephone: 415-345-0400

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The Culture Trip

Welcome to the Antique Vibrator Museum, San Francisco's Sex Toy Attraction
Date: June 2017
Author: Juliet Bennett Rylah
Summary: San Francisco's Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of vintage sex toys, with items dating back to the 1800s and going all the way up to the 1970s.

Good Vibrations itself is a sex toy company that specializes in high-quality pleasure aids, while its cheeky museum tells the storied history of the vibrator. In fact, the museum sits inside the company's Polk Street store. While guests may enter the museum snickering, they'lll quickly realize that vibrators haven't always been a gal's best bedside friend. Allegedly, vibrators began as a tool to treat "hysteria," a bogus condition that physicians used to diagnose women with hundreds of years ago. The belief was that a woman who suffered from hysteria was deprived of sexual release, manifesting in a variety of physical and mental symptoms. Author Rachel Maines wrote in her book The Technology of Orgasm that physicians in the 1800s began treating hysteria by sexually stimulating their patients to climax, and that vibrators were invented to make this "treatment" easier.

By the 1920s, practitioners had abandoned the physical treatments for psychological ones, and by the 1950s, the American Psychiatric Association dropped the term "female hysteria" altogether. Vibrators eventually became a household product, as opposed to a clinical device, occasionally marketed as beauty devices, massagers, or panaceas for women's health concerns.

In the 1970s, sex therapist Joani Blank founded the very first Good Vibrations store in San Fransisco, inside of which was her collection of ancient sex toys, the earliest iteration of this curious museum. The collection grew over time, ultimately becoming what it is today.

Guests will learn all of this and more at the museum, curated by sexologist Dr. Carol Queen. Items in the collection include the Stim-U-Lax Junior, a massager sold by Sears in the 1960s, and several very odd, and frankly intimidating, contraptions from the very early 1900s. The museum also contains old advertisements for these tools, with bits of copy such as "Almost like a miracle is the miraculous healing force of massage when rightly applied." Another ad boasts that such a device can alleviate all suffering. "Cures disease," it claims.

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The Mirror UK Features Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum
Date: November 2016
Title: "This vibrator museum charts the history of sex toys"
Author: Joshua Barrie
Summary: The Mirror looks at the history and evolution of vibrators and showcases Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum.

For many years, vibrators have been objects of pleasure. And since the Victorian era, they've been sold commercially.

The Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum charts the history of these excitements -- from long, phallic wobbly things to strange contraptions that resemble hand-turn whisks.

The museum, in San Francisco, USA, is a treasure trove of sexual desire and fantasy. Its collection dates from the late 1800s, right up to the 1970s, when sex toys began to modernise and resemble more what we see today.

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Women's Health

Women's Health Features Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Collection
Date: May 2012
Title: "The Evolution of Vibrators"
Author: Brittany Risher
Summary: Women's Health looks back at the history of vibrators through Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum photo collection.

"The Wide, Wacky World of Vibrators
Vibrators have come a long way since they were invented in the 1880s as a tool for doctors. They weren't playing naughty nurse -- physicians believed that paroxysm (that's a fancy old medical term for "orgasm") cured women of hysteria, which was marked by symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, and a tendency to cause trouble. We doubt it worked, but we'll take a prescription for more Os any day! From the painful-looking to the absurd, here is a quick look at how (very) personal massagers have evolved, with photographs from Good Vibrations"

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Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum featured on MSN
Date: April 7th, 2012
Title: "Vibrator museum displays toys that kept grandma happy"
Summary: MSN features the opening of Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum, including images from the rare and bizarre collection.

"By all means take in Alcatraz and Fisherman's Wharf on your next visit to San Francisco, but do not take the family to the newest tourist attraction: the Antique Vibrator Museum. It opens April 12, and you might not find it on any visitors' map -- it's in the back of the Good Vibrations shop on Polk (heh, heh, heh) Street. Sexologist Carol Queen is the curator and says the display "contextualizes the vibrator's role in society and highlights how our attitudes around sex and female pleasure have evolved." And also if there might be any kitchen uses for some of the devices. Admission is free. If you do go, please, no Coit Tower jokes."

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Huffington Post

Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum featured on Huffington Post
Date: April 7th, 2012
Title: "Vibrator Museum Organizers Hope To Create A Buzz"
Author: David Moye
Summary: Huffington Post features the opening of Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum, including images from the rare and bizarre collection.

"San Francisco's newest museum is sure to cause a buzz when it opens April 12 -- because it's devoted to vibrators of the past. The Antique Vibrator Museum is designed to showcase kinky collectibles from the late 1800s to the 1970s and, in the process, the history of health and sexuality between 1890 and 1970, according to curator and sexologist Carol Queen."

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VICE Magazine

VICE Magazine gets a Buzz from Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum
Date: June 2012
Title: "Vibrators Through the Ages "
Author: Darren Wee
Summary: VICE Magazine conducts a sassy interview with Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist on the myriad of wonders in the Antique Vibrator Museum.

"Against all odds, San Francisco did not have a museum devoted to antique vibrators until last month. This absurd oversight was corrected by Carol Queen, resident sexologist at the Good Vibrations sex-shop chain and author of both scholarly journal articles regarding sexuality and straight-up (but not necessarily straight) erotica. As you can see, Carol does not fuck around when it comes to fucking—especially when it involves apparatuses that you stick inside yourself or someone else. So it's no surprise she has opened a physical space that celebrates one of the most important technological breakthroughs of the past millennium: the vibrator."

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The Advocate

Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum featured in The Advocate
Date: May 18, 2012
Title: "The First Digital Revolution: Lesbian-Directed 'Hysteria' Hits Theaters"
Author: Diane Anderson-Minshall
Summary: The new Hollywod romantic comedy Hysteria features vibrators from Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum, and The Advocate explores the bizarre history one of our favorite inventions.

"The vibrator, in fact, was one of the earliest patents. The San Francisco premier of Hysteria was held last week in conjunction with the grand opening of Good Vibrations’ Antique Vibrator Museum. Showcasing collectibles from the 1800s and onward, the Vibrator Museum tells a fascinating story of history, health, and sexuality. Curator and staff sexologist Dr. Carol Queen said the new exhibit “contextualizes the vibrators’ role in society and highlights how our attitudes around sex and female pleasure have evolved. It really gives us an appreciation for how far both society and technology have come, and it’s fitting to house the exhibit in the original female-friendly adult retail store.

The turn-of-the-century vibes seen in Hysteria were a far cry from the modern technology but paved the way for today's pleasure, which is why Good Vibrations, the legendary queer-run sex toy company co-sponsored the San Francisco premiere of Hysteria. Still with all the hubub this spring over sex toys, one can’t help but question whether the history of the vibrator is somehow yet to be discovered."

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Business Insider

Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum named one of the Coolest New Businesses San Francisco
Date: May 2012
Title: "Coolest New Businesses San Francisco"
Author: Barbie Davenporte
Summary: Business Insider identified Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum as one of the coolest new businesses in San Francisco.

Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum
What it is: Antique vibrator museum
Why it's cool: The museum, lead by Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, showcases vibrators from as far back as the 1880s. As one can imagine, the museum delves into the history of today's most popular sex toy. At their inception, vibrators were used to treat women with hysteria. But today, they're marketed as massagers, according to the museum."

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Good Vibrations Polk Street - 1620 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA - Press: 415-974-8985 x 201