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Saturday, 19 June 2010

From Zagreb With Love, (Sort of)...The Museum of Broken Relationships May Be Coming To A Town Near You

I read about this one when it first came out a few years ago, then today I stumbled on it again and figured, why not? I was going to go downtown then figured, I already get my share of stooges, fuckos and retarded people as it is. (no offence to actual mentally retarded people, figure of speech.).....It's a very common theme and I'm sure everyone has at least one similar story. (Well, almost everyone) A pretty simple idea for a museum started by Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic in Zagreb, that for some reason is very popular wherever it goes around the world, especially St. Valentines Day. Must be that human quality that enjoys reading about other peoples misfortune, bad luck, cruel heartbreaking fate or failed relationships in this case.

Not a bad gig, people send you the art, so to speak, then you get to travel around the world showing it. Anyway, more information can be found on the attached links and at the museums official website at  You can even donate something that you feel would fit in nicely with the other "mementos", just remember to write the story behind the item because they can't read your minds. You may want to get a kleenex or hanky before you start reading, in case you're one of those sentimental types, or maybe not. (Also, please be kind and wash any undergarments before you send them.)

 Drazen Grubisic and Olinka Vistica. the brains behind the idea of the Museum of Broken Relationships. (Again, please remember to wash any undergarments before sending)

Official Museum of Broken Relationships website:


Related: sources and photos:

MSN Video: Broken heart museum

One of the displays from their world wide tour

A traveling exhibition devoted to the theme of failed relationships is proving a hit in Berlin.

The Museum of Broken Relationships asks people in the cities it visits to donate mementos of everything from short flings to painful divorces.

Originating in Croatia, the show has visited Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia and has amassed more than 300 exhibits.

Berliners have donated more than 30 objects, including a wedding dress and an axe used to break an ex's furniture.

Zvonimir Dobrovic is organising the Berlin show in the Tacheles arts centre, a former squat in the heart of the city.

"It's such a nice, simple idea, because everyone can relate to it," he told the BBC News website.

"It's not pretentious, it's interactive, a place where people can present their own stories and compare them to others."

Members of the public are asked to give or donate an object, along with a short description of what it means to them, the time of the relationship, and where they are from.

 Just a few of the items that can be found, each with it's own story. You can read some of them HERE.

 "Even if the objects seem ordinary the stories are very individual and they make the exhibition come alive," Mr Dobrovic said.

"People really enjoy being here, we get couples who spend a long time here, looking and laughing and hoping it never happens to them, and then people who've just broken up who want to tell us their stories," he added.

Cathartic effect

The idea was born when two Zagreb artists, Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, split up and wanted to do something creative with the pain they were feeling.

"The exhibition comes from a sincere, universal experience and helped us in our break-up process", Ms Vistica told the BBC News website.

The artists decided to collect the objects left over from their relationship and put them on display and asked their friends to do the same.

Ms Vistica says the exhibition can have a therapeutic effect.

A short report about the museum from CNN.

"The normal impulse is to destroy the mementos of a relationship in order to recover, but we thought of using creativity to overcome the pain of the experience and also remember the joy those objects once held for us," she said.

The cathartic effect is evident in some of the descriptions accompanying the objects.

One woman donated an axe and described chopping up the furniture of her cheating female lover.

"The more her room filled up with chopped up furniture, the more I started to feel better. Two weeks after she was kicked out she came to take the furniture. It was neatly arranged into small heaps and fragments of wood."

After Berlin the exhibition travels to Belgrade, Skopje and Stockholm and there are plans for possible shows in Tokyo, New York and Sao Paulo.

A short piece about the musuem on it's stop in San Francisco. (The reporter committed a big faux pas however.  Never talk about your ex's on television. smh.)

Museum Honors Soured Relationships


A museum touring Eastern Europe makes use of old love letters and gifts from relationships gone wrong. The Museum of Broken Relationships gives new life to the leftovers from break-ups, one-night stands and ugly divorces. Scott Simon talks to the museum founders.

Copyright © 2008 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


There's a museum touring Eastern Europe that pays homage to the vestiges of relationships past, it's called the Museum of Broken Relationships, and it's filled with the leftovers from soured flings and ugly divorces, including a few from the founders who got the idea after they endured their own breakup. The founders of the museum, Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic joins us now from the studios of Radio Croatia in Zagreb. Thank you both very much for being with us.

Mr. DRAZEN GRUBISIC (Museum of Broken Relationships): You're welcome. Thanks.

SIMON: So you were a couple for four years, right?

Ms. OLINKA VISTICA (Museum of Broken Relationships): Yeah, that's true.

SIMON: But what? You discovered that it was just - you had lots of stuff that had been shared property you didn't know what to with?

Ms. VISTICA: When we were deciding to split up, every time people do that it's connected with something ugly, something awkward, so we didn't like that way of dealing with our own past, which was once really beautiful. We got this idea, maybe it would be a great idea to have a museum where you could store your emotional heritage.

SIMON: So what's in this touring exhibit that originally belonged to the two of you?

Mr. GRUBISIC: The objects are from ours, from our friends, and from their friends, and so on.

SIMON: Well, things like what, though?

Mr. GRUBISIC: Well, what we expected at the beginning is that we would get letters and stuffed animals, I guess. To our surprise, we got just one letter and one stuffed animal and everything else was different. I mean, we had from bottles, tin fusers, straws from a cafe, a box of matches, and also an artificial prosthetic limb.

SIMON: I'm sorry, you mean like…

Mr. GRUBISIC: Did I caught you by surprise?

SIMON: You sure did. Like, an arm or a leg?

Mr. GRUBISIC: Yeah, like, a leg.

Ms. VISTICA: Nice big leg.

SIMON: What was the story behind that, you know?

Ms. VISTICA: This is an object from 1991, the time there was war in Croatia and, in fact, this prosthetic limb is a donation from a war veteran in Croatia who fell in love with a social worker in the hospital. And at that time it was very hard in Croatia to get good material for artificial limbs, and she helped him out to get the material from Germany. And he concludes in very funny and ironic way, saying, so the limb lasted longer than the relationship because it was made of better materials. So, it's…

SIMON: Now, there's an ax? I've been told about an ax.

Mr. GRUBISIC: After - the lady was left by her lover who also, unfortunately left her furniture in her apartment. She bought an ax and chopped every piece of furniture to little piles. She says that after a couple of days of chopping up furniture, she felt really relieved, and she can (Foreign language spoken)…

Ms. VISTICA: Recommend.

Mr. GRUBISIC: Yeah, she can recommend that kind of - to reveal the experience.

SIMON: You communicate very well, you finish each other's sentences, you have a lot of respect for each other, why aren't you together?

Ms. VISTICA: Come on, say your things, then I'll say mine.

Mr. GRUBISIC: No, go ahead. Well…

Ms. VISTICA: Relationships change and we have, as human beings, to accept that fact, you know, and something that comes after it doesn't have to be worse than it was before. So I think that what we made through this experience, we were able to overcome each other's differences which were obvious at some time, and we realized we cannot continue living this way in this kind of relationship. But we were able to transform it into something different, which is, I think for me, very precious, and I think it's for Drazen too. I hope it is.

Mr. GRUBISIC: So nicely put.

SIMON: Well, it's been just a delight to talk to both of you. Thank you very much.

Mr. GRUBISIC: Thank you.

Ms. VISTICA: Thank you very much.

SIMON: Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic are the founders of the museum…

Mr. GRUBISIC: That's right.

SIMON: …thank you - founders of the Museum of Broken Relationships. They joined us from Radio Croatia in Zagreb.

*Updated January 6, 2012

Since the time this post was made, I had an opportunity to visit Zagreb again and see the  museum exhibition in person. At the time there was also a Museum of Broken Relationships exhibition taking place in London. However a lot of the good interesting displays were still in Zagreb. Some were funny and some of the ways the relationships ended were quite elaborate in their planning and creative. I decided to add a few of my own photos to this post to give a better look at what to expect, from the front desk to the attached cafe next door. That's where you can go with your friend after the museum tour, have some drinks and snacks, chat and describe in vivid detail, over and over again, about that time your heart was bloodily ripped out of your chest and shoved down your fucking throat, all between mouthfuls of fresh pastries and coffee (or other carbonated beverages) What better place than that? Again, for more information, visit the museums website at

The main entrance to the museum is the starting point to the exhibit. Once inside and you visit every room, the tour will eventually take you here again. You can get all kinds of souvenirs here, t-shirts, sweat tops, books and other stuff. The front desk personnel are very helpful and fluent in English as well. Most businesses there are.

There is also a video/audio presentation one can watch also.

I got an opportunity to check out the popular axe display. The story behind that one is about a guy who after breaking up with his girl, decided to smash all his ex-girlfriends furniture.

In this section items related to the more naughty side of relatonships were on the display.  Including the popular fuzzy pink handcuffs.  

At the end of the museum tour, you can go to the attached cafe right next door in the same building. The museum is located right in the center of the old historic part of Zagreb, known locally as "Gornji Grad" district. Many other museums and historic points of interest are just a hop and skip away. Including the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) where daily you can watch the "Changing of the Guard". For those looking for that other kind of love, you can also just stroll over to Ban Jelacic Square which is just minutes away. There you'll be able to find love and romance and all for a very modest fee. The hot in heels, tight dress and smelling nice variety, not your run of the mill  expensive drunken crack whore or stupid fat ghetto booty floozy with incoherent nonsense and spittle variety that is common on this side of the pond. The main thing is that after the museum tour is over that you had fun reading about other peoples love and romance heartbreaks and tragic failures and had some good tasting sandwiches or pastries afterwards.

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