Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships

Coordinates: 45°48′54″N 15°58′25″E / 45.815°N 15.97361°E / 45.815; 15.97361

Museum of Broken Relationships
Muzej prekinutih veza

The Museum of Broken Relationships was a hit with Berlin museumgoers in 2007.[1]
Established 2010[2]
Location 2 Sv. Ćirila i Metoda Street
Zagreb, Croatia[2]
Type Specialized museum[2]

The Museum of Broken Relationships (Croatian: Muzej prekinutih veza) is a museum dedicated to failed love relationships. Its exhibits are personal objects left over from former lovers which are accompanied by brief descriptions. At first a traveling collection of donated items, the museum has since found a permanent location in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2011, the Museum of Broken Relationships received the Kenneth Hudson Award for the most innovative museum in Europe.[3]



The museum was founded by two Zagreb-based artists, Olinka Vištica, a film producer, and Dražen Grubišić, a sculptor.[4] After their four-year love relationship came to an end in 2003, the two joked about setting up a museum to house the left-over personal items.[5] Three years later, Grubišić contacted Vištica with this idea, this time in earnest.[5] They started asking their friends to donate objects left behind from their break-ups, and the collection was born.[5] It was shown to the public for the first time in 2006, in Gliptotheque Zagreb, as a part of the 41st Zagreb Salon.[6]

In the years that followed, the collection went on a world tour, visiting Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Macedonia, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[1][7][8][9] Along the way, it gathered new items donated by members of the public; more than 30 objects were donated by Berliners alone during the exhibition in that city in 2007.[1]

In the meantime, after unsuccessful attempts to interest the Croatian Ministry of Culture in finding a temporary location for the museum, Vištica and Grubišić decided to make a private investment and rent a 300-square-meter (3,200 sq ft) space in Zagreb's Upper Town, making it the city's first privately-owned museum.[10] The museum, finally opened in October 2010, proved popular with foreign tourists in particular, not only due to its original subject matter, but also the fact that it is open seven days a week, unlike other museums in the city.[11][12]

This exhibit was donated by a woman from Ljubljana, Slovenia, who gave the following description: "[...] The dwarf was closing the gate that he had destroyed himself some time ago. At that moment it flew over to the windscreen of the new car, rebounded and landed on the asphalt surface. It was a long loop, drawing an arc of time – and this short long arc defined the end of love."[13]

In May 2011, the Museum of Broken Relationships received the Kenneth Hudson Award, given out by the European Museum Forum (EMF).[14] The award goes to "a museum, person, project or group of people who have demonstrated the most unusual, daring and, perhaps, controversial achievement that challenges common perceptions of the role of museums in society", rating the "importance of public quality and innovation as fundamental elements of a successful museum".[14] The EMF's judging panel noted:[14]

The Museum of Broken Relationships encourages discussion and reflection not only on the fragility of human relationships but also on the political, social and cultural circumstances surrounding the stories being told. The museum respects the audience's capacity for understanding wider historical, social issues inherent to different cultures and identities and provides a catharsis for donors on a more personal level.


The Museum of Broken Relationships is described by its founders as "an art concept which proceeds from the (scientific) assumption that objects (in the broadest sense, i.e., matter as a whole) possess integrated fields - ‘holograms’ of memories and emotions - and intends with its layout to create a space of ‘secure memory’ or ‘protected remembrance’ in order to preserve the material and nonmaterial heritage of broken relationships".[15]

The project is divided into several segments:[15]

  • Material remains layout includes the objects and documents (photographs, letters, messages). Items are presented with dates and locations of the relationship, and annotations by their anonymous donors.[16][17] Due to physical constraints, older exhibits may be archived and transferred to the virtual part of the museum.
  • Virtual web museum enables the registered visitors to become donors through uploading their images and documents. Donors can decide whether to open their personal collections for viewing by other users of the museum.
  • Confessional is the interactive part of the museum in which visitors can store their objects or messages, or record their confessions in a restricted and intimate space.


  1. ^ a b c "Balkan heartbreak a hit in Berlin". BBC News. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Muzej prekinutih veza" (in Croatian). Museum Documentation Center.,990.2%3AZAG/hr/info/. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Museum of Broken Relationships". Time Out. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Kiš, Patricia (4 October 2010). "'Kupio mi je tange od bombona. Kada me prevario sa kolegicom s posla, poslao mi je mail. Kakav jeftini škrtac!'" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Art of remembering: That was then". The Economist. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Stipetić, Ines (26 February 2010). "Olinka Vištica i Dražen Grubišić u Muzeju prekinutih veza" (in Croatian). Gloria. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Museum of Broken Relationships on Oddity Central". The Huffington Post. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Ota, Rina (7 January 2009). "Museum of failed love offers balm for heartbreak". Reuters. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Cisar, Katjusa (13 May 2011). "'Museum of Broken Relationships' exhibit comes to Blaffer". Ultimate East End. Houston Chronicle and Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Sutlić, Korana (5 March 2010). "Muzej prekinutih veza konačno u Zagrebu" (in Croatian). Globus. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  11. ^ "Museum of Broken Relationships returns home". Croatian Times. 5 October 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Mandić-Mušćet, Jelena (8 April 2011). "Građani nedjeljom ne mogu u razgledavanje kulturnog sadržaja" (in Croatian). Vjesnik. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Divorce Day Mad Dwarf". Museum of Broken Relationships. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c "The Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren, Belgium, won the European Museum of the Year Award 2011" (PDF) (Press release). European Museum Forum. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Museum of Broken Relationships: More about the concept" (PDF). Museum of Broken Relationships. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  16. ^ Mueller, Andrew (12 February 2011). "Display of affection". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Kopun, Francine (8 October 2010). "A night at the Museum of Broken Relationships". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 

Further reading

  • Vištica, Olinka; Grubišić, Dražen (2009). Museum of Broken Relationships. Hulahop. ISBN 978-953-55238-2-6. 

External links

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