Museum of Broken Relationships

Posted on September 19, 2014 by Toothpicker There have been 2 comment(s)

Festival of lovefestival of love festival of love

Festival of love at South Bank


I am sure most of us have experienced heartaches at some points in our lives (unless you have never been in love before or have stayed with only one person all your life - well, lucky you!), but how do we deal with all those love tokens when the relationships end? Do we throw them out? Burn them? Return them? How about donating them to a museum?

In 2011, I visited the Museum of Broken relationship exhibition for the first time in London and I loved it! This summer, they were back in the city again as part of South Bank's Festival of Love.

Set up by Croatian artists Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić in 2006 following their own break-up. The Croatian museum received the Kenneth Hudson Award for Europe's most innovative museum in 2011, and they have since showcased their exhibits in 15 countries. The exhibitions revolve around the concept of failed relationships and the love tokens left behind donated by ex-lovers from around the world.


Heartbreak hotel

The Heartbreak hotel


The reason why this exhibition works so well is because we can all relate to the stories and empathise with the narrators/ donors behind the objects. We feel their suffering, pain, joy and bitterness; we understand their irrational behaviour and appreciate their witty afterthoughts. There are some very bizarre objects at the exhibit, but many are lighthearted and sweet. However, I was slightly surprised when I saw a wedding band being donated; I guess when vows are no longer valid, the band has reverted back to a mere piece of metal (which is essentially what it always has been).


Museum of Broken RelationshipsMuseum of Broken Relationships museum of broken relationshipMuseum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships


Although we can all donate these mementoes away, or destroy them if we prefer; we somehow cannot erase our memories even if they are tarnished or fragmented. From the stories at the exhibition, we can see that the donors are able to recollect their versions of the stories (remember that there is another side to it), and mostly importantly their feelings at the time.

Even when we think we have forgotten, a sudden song, image, place or even scent would evoke memories of certain people or incidents that we have buried for a long time. Or it might remind us of ourselves when we were young, naive and slightly foolish. This fleeting memory might bring smiles or frowns to our faces, but hopefully, we would let it to slip away and return back to reality.

Heartbreaks are part of growing up, they help us to mature, understand our needs better and appreciate the companions we eventually choose to be with. The quote by New Zealand author B.J. Harvey is one that we can live by: “Whatever happened in the past belongs in the past. Learn from it, grow, and move on. Don't let it determine your future.”


This post was posted in London, Exhibitions, Art and was tagged with London, art and design exhibitions, Museum of broken relationships

2 Responses to Museum of Broken Relationships

  • This was one of the quirkiest museums that we saw ever!
    Here is a mini guide from our stable!

    Posted on September 25, 2014 at 5:51 pm

  • Hi Sonia, thanks for your comment but the link you sent doesn't seem to work!

    Posted on September 28, 2014 at 12:20 am