In the mid-’90s, one of the world’s largest collections of pornography belonged to a Methodist minister, Reverend Ted McIlvenna.
McIlvenna was a man with a mission, like many clergymen, and his was to to study and preserve artifacts related to human sexuality, including art, films, and literature. For over three decades, he collected everything from dirty postcards and posters to sexual treatises, and founded the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, in San Francisco.
A major portion of this unique personal collection became the bedrock of the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas. The museum attempts to display all the complex facets of the sexual experience and help people appreciate its importance and history.
It opened in 2008 and underwent a brief closure in 2014, during which time the administration of the museum changed, and many of the original displays were removed. An interactive 10-foot vulva, a carefully curated collection of Eva Braun’s lingerie, an installation of sex bikes (including the world’s largest), celebrity sex tapes, and an exploration of sex in space are but few of the exhibits that have been housed in the 24,000 square-foot space in the past few years. While many galleries are filled with artifacts relating to sexuality and erotica, some exhibits also explore the nexus between sex and political suppression.