After a public outcry, an animated video showing a boy and girl masturbating has been removed from Canada’s federal science museum, just in time for a sex exhibit to open.
The Canada Science and Technology Museum will open the Sex: A Tell-all Exhibition on Thursday as scheduled despite harsh criticism from Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore.
The center has decided to remove the video. It’s also raising to 16 from 12 years the minimum age for unaccompanied children to tour the exhibit, which was designed to answer questions youth have about sexuality.
“The museum has received a higher than expected amount of expressions of concerns from the public,” said spokesman Yves St-Onge.
“We take the feedback of our community seriously, and so we have carefully considered their suggestions, and taken appropriate action that we believe will best serve our audiences.”
About 50 complaints were received from parents who disagree that the show is educational in nature.
Canada’s Sun newspaper chain described a “climax room” showing animations of aroused genitals, accompanying by a voiceover of a man describing an orgasm.
James Maunder, a spokesman for Moore, said it was obvious that the exhibit fell outside the museum’s mandate of assisting scientific and technological literacy: “This content cannot be defended, and is insulting to taxpayers.”
Replied St-Onge: “The exhibition is designed to present information in a scientific, frank and accessible manner, an approach that the Canada Science and Technology Museum supports.”
The exhibit is on loan from Montreal.
The Web site of the Saskatchewan Science Centre, where the exhibit will also open Thursday, says: “Decidedly modern in its approach, the exhibition will rely on video, computer animation, real-life photography, interactive electronic platforms, and surprisingly realistic models, and on advice from experts to communicate its message.”
The museum said it’s gone a step beyond the recommended 12-and-up age limit.
Said another museum spokesman, Luc Founier: “The exhibition does not promote sex at all, the exhibition promotes sexual awareness and sexual education. In our case, we’ve decided (ages) 16 and over gain access unaccompanied but anyone under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or adult.”
Sexuality PhD student Jocelyn Wentland said she took a group of teens to see the exhibit. She recommends that others see it themselves and make up their own minds.
“The best thing would be as teens to walk around it with your parents, split up and then talk about what surprised you and what you liked,” she said. “It’s all about having those conversations and they should be taking place at home first.”
Sex: A Tell-All Exhibition runs until January. The exhibit won’t be a part of summer camps or school programs, the museum said.