The Museum of Broken Relationships

The Museum of Broken Relationships sounds like a catchy name for a blog or something Carrie Bradshaw might muse about in one of her deep, metaphor-heavy voice-overs. But it’s way more awesome than that: It’s an actual museum. In Croatia. See? Totally awesome. We wrote about the concept a few years back when it was just a traveling collection of items, but now the permanent collection is set up in a sleek white exhibition space in Zagreb. And this year the museum won an award for most innovative museum in Europe (and that’s saying something, given that Europe also boasts the world’s only Phallological Museum).

The concept is this: every item in the collection is an object leftover after a failed relationship (whether the relationship failed because someone was an asshole, or ended because someone died). They range from the cutesy, like a cheap cuddly teddy bear, to the artistic (Venetian glass horse)  to the creepy (an axe) to the just plain odd (prosthetic leg). And then there are the items that were once appealing or sexy and are suddenly unbearably sad, like a set of white garter belts, with the confession (by a Bosnian woman): “I never put them on. The relationship might have lasted longer if I did.”

The museum was founded by two artists, Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, who also happen to be former lovers. (Normally we hate the word “lover,” but somehow it seems fitting for two artists from Croatia.) When they broke up after four years together, they didn’t know what to do with all the once treasured “evidence” of their relationship, such as a wind-up, hopping bunny, which they had wanted to take pictures of around the world. So their solution? Create a solution for all the stuff you can’t bear to keep… and yet can’t bear to toss.

And don’t worry, it’s not all Sex & the City-style musings on Why He Left. A number of poignant items ended up there in the wake of the collapse of Yugoslavia, like a love letter written by a boy for a girl he met in an evacuation convoy out of Sarajevo back in 1992. He never got to give her the letter, but he always remembered her.

Feel like unburdening yourself of that evocative garden gnome or the faded concert tee? Then donate your relationship detritus to the museum! Don’t worry, all exhibits are anonymous.