Culture / museum

The Museum of Broken Relationships

If there was a place where you could display mementos of your failed relationships, would you do it? Thousands of people said ‘yes’. A red stiletto, an old garden gnome, and a shiny blue axe have one thing in common – they share a story about the intimate past of the donators. Zagreb is a hometown of the Museum of Broken Relationships, an award-winning museum for mementos you don’t have the heart to throw because of the stories they tell. 

There is a place where you can unload your pain from failed relationships. A new home, away from you, for your heart-shaped mug, leather necklace or any other symbol of your past love. Along with a story behind it. What started as a travelling exhibition of donated objects, found its first permanent home in Zagreb in 2010. It is the first privately held Croatian museum.

Mare Milin

The Museum of Broken Relationships (Croatian: Muzej prekinutih veza) started as an idea made by two Croatian artists who were previously in a relationship together. They are Olinka Vištica, an art producer, and Dražen Grubišić, a visual artist. Relics of their relationship, as well as failed relationships of their friends, were first introduced at 41. Zagrebački salon in 2006. 

Later, the exhibition went to Singapore, Germany, the UK, the USA, around the world and in 57 cities so far. Today, the museum has two temporary exhibitions. The first is in Gornji grad, Zagreb, and the second is in Los Angeles, California. The second one is opened in collaboration with American lawyer John B. Quinn who visited Zagreb and was amazed by the idea. He wasn’t the only one excited with the concept. 

Mare Milin

The museum was featured in numerous media outlets around the world (BBC, CNN, The Sunday Times, etc.) and holds the award for the most innovative museum in 2011. It’s situated in the Upper Town, the old, historical part of Zagreb, and it’s placed in the Kulmer palace, between the most famous spots to see, like the Grič cannon (Croatian: Grički top), the building of the Croatian Parliament (Croatian: Hrvatski Sabor) and St. Mark’s Church (Croatian: Crkva Sv. Marka). The museum has a small Summer terrace where you can enjoy a drink in a cozy cafe. Also, you can try a comforting, seasonal food made by young, innovative chefs in a Brokenships bistro.

If you have a story about your past love relationship, you can contribute by writing to the museum and be a part of a virtual exhibition that holds more than 2000 stories so far. Or you can just lurk into some already shared ones. Also, you can donate a symbol of your relationship and become a part of ‘collective emotional history’.

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