Navigating Through Love’s Debris at The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb

The Museum of Broken Relationships is genuinely one-of-a-kind, heartwarming, and entertaining. Embark on a journey through intense emotions in perhaps the most intriguing museum in Zagreb - a place where you can start healing from a broken heart!

Conceived as a means to help people overcome the trauma and emotional breakdown following the end of a love affair, the Museum of Broken Relationships was the brainchild of two Zagreb-based artists - painter Drazen Grubisic and film producer Olinka Vistica. They, too, were romantically involved from 1999 to 2003 but didn't have a shared future. After their breakup, they were uncertain about what to do with the remnants of their shared life.

A Museum Born from the Ashes of Love

This predicament sparked the idea of creating a distinctive museum. Since both were creative spirits, they diligently started turning their idea into reality. They asked friends and acquaintances who had gone through painful breakups to donate objects bearing personal, albeit painful, significance.

Thus, the first collection was born, laying the foundation for the Museum of Broken Relationships. The public first witnessed their exhibition in 2006 at the Gliptoteka HAZU during the 41st Zagreb Salon.

This unusual exhibition, celebrating unhappy love and ended partnerships, became an immediate hit and a social phenomenon, breaking attendance records. After its incredible success in Zagreb, the exhibition boldly ventured internationally, celebrating an upward trajectory ever since.

Over the years, the collection travelled worldwide, visiting countries like Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Macedonia, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, and the USA. Since its inception in 2006 until the end of 2021, the travelling exhibition visited a whopping 57 cities around the globe.

With time, more intriguing items were donated to the museum, with over 30 objects gifted by Berlin residents alone during the exhibition's visit in 2007. Currently, the museum boasts around three thousand items.

It was not until 2010 that the Museum of Broken Relationships found a permanent home in Zagreb, thanks to Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, who decided to lease a 300-square-meter space in Gradec, the city's old town, with their funds. This move made it the first privately owned museum in Zagreb.

The Museum of Broken Relationships probably enjoys immense popularity due to its original concept, fascinating stories, and the emotions it evokes in its visitors, including numerous visits from abroad.

Donating to the Museum: Sharing Stories

Did you know you can also be a part of the Museum of Broken Relationships? Anyone can donate an object to the museum, creatively navigating through the emotional turmoil caused by a painful breakup. Every exhibited item is donated, and every story behind the objects is verified and entirely true.

By donating their belongings, people decide to share a piece of their personal love heritage, contributing to the fantastic narrative of the museum. The creators designed the Museum of Broken Relationships as a unique exhibition and a means to alleviate the pain of separation.

The museum allows visitors to confront their breakups, acknowledge the end of relationships, and possibly experience psychological relief, emotional cleansing, and desired catharsis. Creators and visitors wonder: "Graduations, weddings, and funerals are significant life events. Why shouldn't the end of our intimate relationships be acknowledged and discussed as such?"

The collection includes many personal items, some funny, some shocking, but all connected by a common thread - they represent relationships with emotions hidden deep within us. Whether visitors identify with the items and the stories behind them or find inspiration, laughter, or comfort depends entirely on the individual.

The exhibition's creators hope each visit will help individuals gain deeper insights while reinforcing belief in something greater and more important than the pain caused by a broken love affair.

The ever-changing collection at the Museum of Broken Relationships comprises stories and items from people worldwide, all entirely anonymous. Some stories are humorous, some tragic, and some end due to socio-cultural or religious reasons. In contrast, others are filled with bitter disappointment, regret, longing, and pain.

Stories from the territories of former Yugoslavia often revolve around painful and tragic endings caused by the last war (post-1991) that divided all the federal states. The Museum of Broken Relationships gracefully navigates through these stories, bridging cultural, gender, religious, and national differences with its original design and emotional charge.

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