The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, is by far the most unique museum I have ever been to. Unlike other museums, it doesn’t carry any antiques, jewels or historic remanences. Instead, it displays items donated by patrons from all over the world that hold symbolic value to them personally.

Museum of Broken Relationships
Take your time reading through the various exhibits

A Personal Connection

After realizing heartbreak, Olinka Vištica, a film producer, and Dražen Grubišić, a sculptor, coined the idea of this museum. Starting as a personal collection of previous relationships, it quickly transformed into a 1000-item traveling museum. As a result, the two Zagreb-based artists have received audiences across 13 countries. In addition, the museum won the EMYA Kenneth Hudson Award in 2010 for the most innovative and daring museum projects in Europe.

Items on display include everyday quirky items such as a stiletto shoe, CD’s, laundry basket, toy cars, letter, etc. Each of the items is accompanied by country of origin, a memoir of the relationship and relationship period. I found some notes particularly interesting and others rather funny.

The collections were diverse as people recounted short stories of randomly falling in love and of inevitable heartbreaks.

Museum of Broken Relationships
A crate acting as recollection of a past relationship

A One Of A Kind Experience

One can spend an hour or two seeing the small museum, though the museum also sells books with pictures and stories of some of the items on display. You can also find break ups on the interactive world map and read stories on the blog.

Reading stories of broken relationships is perhaps the opposite of reading romantic novels, but surprisingly they don’t get you down or depressed. I feel that reading about real-life relationships that didn’t always end well makes us realize that we live in a realistic world where everything is not always perfect. It makes you feel that you are not the only one who has suffered through a heartbreak. And it makes you smile to read about how people fall in love and cherish the smallest of gifts for years to come.

Museum of Broken Relationships
Find yourself connecting with the items on display

While the museum is very popular among visitors, it nearly doubles its attendance around the Valentine’s holiday. If you would like to unburden your relationship, send in your item to the Museum of Broken Relationships.

The Museum of Broken Relationships has permanent exhibits in Zagreb, Croatia and Los Angeles, California.