One of the most unusual museums in Croatia is the Museum of Broken Relationships (in Croatian: Muzej prekinutih veza) in Zagreb. The Museum is an ever-growing collection of items, each a memento of a relationship past, accompanied by a personal, yet anonymous story of its contributor.
The collection traces its origins to a real-life breakup, between that of its co-founders, Olinka Vištica, a film producer, and Dražen Grubišić, a sculptor, two Zagreb-based artists, in 2006.
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.
Unsure what to do with a special wind-up toy they’d acquired as a couple, they searched for somewhere to store what they considered to be a symbol of their time together. When they realized that no such place existed, the Museum of Broken Relationships was born.
Today the museum accepts objects from around the world, and the owners are often surprised by what shows up at their door.
Among the items there are some typical, like mobile phones, records or clothing, however they’ve also received dreadlocks, a toaster, even a parachute rig. Besides the anticipated teddy bears and letters, the collection also includes a few poignant and sometimes disturbing surprises: a tiny bottle filled with a woman’s tears, an axe and taser gun, and perhaps the strangest offering, a prosthetic leg. Of course, each is accompanied with a description of the object and its meaning.
For example this item, labeled “ex-axe”, was donated by a woman from Berlin. She used it to chop her former lover’s furniture in frustration after being left for another woman.
The Museum of Broken Relationships aims to offer a space for people to share and treasure their sentimental artifacts of love lost.
In 2010 it won the EMYA Kenneth Hudson Award as the most innovative and daring museum project in Europe.