A museum of broken relationships, it’s about people breaking up, right? Well, yes and no.
The Museum of Broken Relationships, currently exhibiting in Zagreb and Los Angeles, displays objects that represent the end of a relationship. Sometimes this is between two people; a couple, parent and child, friends, neighbours, etc. Other times it’s the relationship between a person and an object, or a person and a part of themselves.
Walking around the exhibition, there are a huge range of items on show. Each has been sent in by someone, as a representation of the end of some kind of relationship in their life. Ranging in size, function and initial level of interest, only by reading the accompanying description will you know the meaning and story behind it.
I was hesitant to visit the museum while in Zagreb. I’d just finished in a relationship and didn’t really fancy spending my time reading about people breaking up. Who does, really? However, I was intrigued, in the neighbourhood and had some free time. I am so glad I did visit, and it’s one of my favourite ‘museums’ ever.
It’s not often I’m captivated enough to read each placard, usually I just stop to read the odd one as it catches my eye. Here, I read every explanation that accompanied an item. And I wanted to take photos of them all because they were all so unique and relatable, funny or touching. I found myself laughing with some of the stories, broken hearted with others and some felt as though the story was mine, albeit with a different item.
Some of my favourite items in there have stayed with me long after I left:
– A bra – a lady was acknowledging the end of her relationship with her breasts after being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a mastectomy.
– A pizza dough box – following a gluten and lactose intolerance diagnosis, the sender had to end their relationship with their favourite food, pizza. So long, cheese.
– Basketball shoes – accompanied with the message ‘We played basketball together. He was straight, I wasn’t. He used to tell me about the girls he was seeing and it killed me inside.’
– A door with messages all over it – a lady had lost her son and his friends had covered their old front door with messages for him after he passed away.
– A parachute – a lady who had met her partner while parachuting, enjoyed a life together before he died in a parachuting accident.
There are some things that are just a given in museums, like a cafe, gift shop and visitor book. Here, there are of course all of those, but flicking through the visitor book was like a little Ted Talk, oozing positivity and ‘you got this!’ vibes. I found myself connecting with some of the comments in there, almost as if they’d pulled the thoughts out of my head. I loved the whole experience so much, I even bought things from the gift shop, which I never do!
The Museum of Broken Relationships also has a website, with more items accompanied by stories on there. Compiled from across the world, those online are mostly stories of people breaking up. Some are more than a little strange, but it doesn’t really measure up to the physical exhibition. There, the range of stories is so wide reaching that you can’t help but stay engaged.
If it isn’t already evident, I would absolutely recommend a visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships if you find yourself in Zagreb or Los Angeles.
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