I had actually first heard about the Museum of Broken Relationships when it was set up in Los Angeles. I really wanted to go but just never found myself there so when I saw that there was one in Croatia, I knew that I was going to have to go. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I had heard that it was definitely something to check out because it’s real stories and donations of stories and tangible objects. The one really cool thing is that this museum actually opened in Zagreb before becoming a traveling exhibit that now has something sitting in Los Angeles, so it was really cool to be able to see the original permanent location.
If you haven’t heard of this museum, then I highly recommend looking into it. It’s actually a really interesting concept and incredibly beautiful. It was set up to be a place that is used to show and share people’s stories about, well, broken relationships. These aren’t necessarily just broken romantic relationships but friendships, family, random encounters and everything in between. The idea is that people from all over the world can bring something that represents a broken relationship and donate it to the museum along with a small excerpt to describe what the story. It can be as short as one sentence or a full story. It’s an opportunity for people to let go of that broken relationship and share it with the world. I love the concept and was so curious about it because these aren’t pieces on display of some famous artist, they aren’t tied to talent but they’re tied to real people and real stories They’re relatable and these stories are from people who could have passed me on the street three weeks ago. One thing that I keep remembering when I am traveling at the airport is that everyone is about to go on some journey and you don’t know their backstory so don’t judge. That’s exactly what this museum represented to me. An opportunity to learn more people’s backstories even if I never meet them or know who they are.
The stories are all listed and anonymous but they provide locations of the donators and how long the relationship actually was. But otherwise you don’t get a lot of information outside of what the people decide they want to provide.
I paid my entry fee into the museum and started walking through it. Each room was split up into themes dependent on the various types of relationships. You can see things from articles of clothing to letters to toys to plants to keys to instruments and everything in between. At this specific location each story is translated in English and Croatian so that you can definitely spend some time reading each one.
I have to admit, that there were some moments where I felt sad because of the stories that I read and other ones that were almost joyful and felt like the people left on good terms. There were one-night stands to lost friends to broken romantic relationships. I think deep down, one of the things that’s most fascinating about this place is the how relatable it all is. We’ve all ended one sort of relationship or another at some point so it’s like reading about some of your own history.
I walked through every square inch of that museum, reading each and every single one of the stories and looking at each of the objects. I definitely enjoyed the stories more than the tangible objects because it gave the history. One thing that was interesting was that some of the donated items were huge and I’m surprised that people traveled with it from around the world to donate it, but I’m glad they did.
After making a full circle around the museum, I went to the cafe and hung out for a bit reading while drinking a hot chocolate. Quick side note: their hot chocolate was incredibly thick and was more of a halfway point between hot chocolate as a beverage and pudding. Regardless it was delicious and I probably spent more time using a spoon to consume it instead of actually drinking it. When I was done with my hot chocolate, it was time to start wandering around Zagreb.