Museum of Broken Relationships

If you still have your ex’s stuff sitting somewhere in your apartment, you may want to donate it to the world’s only museum of broken relationships, in Zagreb, Croatia

The end of an emotional relationship between two lovers is usually painful. No matter how long the relationship, gay or straight, marriage or just dating – when emotions are involved, hearts get broken.

But let’s put things in other perspective – is it possible to make something fruitful out of a breakup? Many of us would disagree, but luckily, Dražen Grubišić (41) and Olinka Vištica (41), founders of the Museum of Broken Relationships, didn’t think that way. Once a couple themselves, after the breakup, they thought about all the things they once shared that remind them of a great love gone forever – should they keep them or should they throw them away with disgust?

Soon, they came up with an idea. How about organizing an exhibition space where all the people could display objects related to their broken love? The specimens would be accompanied with short explanations from donors, turning the whole thing into an original art project.

After it was first presented to the public in 2006, the project grew into one of the world’s most unique museums, located in the old town in center of Croatian capital Zagreb. The museum has won a number of international awards, and the exhibition is still touring globally. Its international presence attracts donors from all over the world to share their intimate love stories with the visitors.

“They both came together. The teddy bear stayed and my boyfriend left with another girl” said a donor of a cute toy. Another girl donated an axe. She used it to chop off all her ex-girlfriend’s furniture. ‘The axe was promoted to a therapy instrument’ she added.

The museum’s founders tried to give a cross section of all the emotions that people go through after a breakup. Some of them are funny, some are heartbreaking. One reads: ‘He gave me everything but he did not want to sleep with me. I realized how much he loves me when he died of AIDS’.

One donated a wedding dress, one a cell phone with words ‘it was 300 days too long’. The museum tries to avoid political matters but some of the donors are just too original to dismiss. For example, a woman donated a copy of Time magazine with Barack Obama on the cover. ‘I voted for him but he was a disappointment’, she added. Kasum Cana, leader of Gipsy party here in Croatia, who recently passed away, last year donated an oil painting portrait of ex Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader with words: ‘He promised us a donation for a Gipsy conference but he lied. This portrait should have been a present for his participation. Now I am giving it to the Museum as a proof of my broken love with the Prime Minister.’

Not that the idea helped Olinka and Dražen to survive their breakup. But being artists themselves, they ended up with a unique art project and a business for life out of it. The only problem is the limited museum space – today there are so many interested donors, that the founders are often forced to say no to new exhibits.