Museum of Broken Relationships: The Most Heartbreakingly Entertaining Museum in the World

In late August of last year I found myself in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard with nothing to do. This is where you all scratch your heads and think “Huh, how on Earth can you have nothing to do in Hollywood of all places?”

Well, I’ll tell you how.

Because Hollywood Boulevard is one big circus. It’s crowded and commercialised and has a kind of seedy feel to it, yet at the same time it’s utterly fantastic. I mean, where else in the world can you find Elvis and Megatron breakdancing in the street while some random hip-hop artist beatboxes and plays drums on an upside down bin?

The commercialised aspect of it means that almost anything on the strip is kind of expensive, and very much the definition of a tourist trap. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good tourist trap, but not when I have plans to visit Disneyland the very next day and would much rather plough all of my money into a snazzy set of Minnie Mouse ears (/hat). So yes, I found myself with 6 hours to spare in between checking out of my ridiculously over-priced hostel (£38 for a bed in a 10-bed dorm room – ouch) and catching the train to Anaheim.

A quick scan of Google Maps and a vague recollection of seeing some interesting looking museums during my lengthy walk along the whole Walk of Fame the previous day led me to make my way towards the Museum of Broken Relationships.

The plan was to spend a few hours there, grab something to eat and then head for the train.

Of course, as I left my hotel I got approached by a lovely man offering up one of those super cheesy Hollywood homes tours for a bargain price of about $15, and who was I to say no?

Thus, I promptly forgot about the Museum of Broken Relationships.

Fast forward five months and there I was in Zagreb, one of the greyest cities I’ve ever set foot in, on a hunt for the best museums in town.

And lo and behold, what do you know but the original Museum of Broken Relationships was right there, a mere 10-minute walk from my hostel! Not only was it the original museum, but the entry price was a whole lot cheaper than Hollywood’s interpretation. We’re not talking a few pennies either, we’re talking the cost of a kidney.

We’re not talking a few pennies either, we’re talking the cost of a kidney.

A fully grown adult (i.e. not student) entry ticket for Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships is 30KN, so about £3.50.

The Hollywood exhibition, on the other hand, costs a whopping $18 USD (£14)!!!! That’s 4 times the price. Absurd.

When I told one of my friends that I was going to visit the museum, it’s safe to say he didn’t really share my enthusiasm. His response was something along the lines of “Why would you want to go somewhere like that?” and something about used sex toys.

I can sort of see where his hesitations came from. Visiting a place who’s core purpose is to commemorate the end of a relationship forever is kind of depressing, let alone actually paying to visit said place.

On explaining the concept, however, he sort of warmed to the idea. Then came my live updates from the museum, and a full debriefing when I got back to my hostel, and he was more intrigued than ever. What followed was weeks of him asking when I was going to write up a blog about the museum. So, G, here’s that post I promised you about 2 months ago now.

Museum of Broken Relationships is a physical and virtual public space created with the sole purpose of treasuring and sharing your heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions. It is a museum about you, about us, about the ways we love and lose.

 The Museum itself is quite small, but they’ve managed to jam pack thousands of years worth of failed relationships into those 4 and a bit little rooms, so you can easily spend a good few hours there.

Every story came with an item. 

That’s the point of the exhibit, really. You donate an item that is symbolic of your relationship. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be particularly heartbreaking. It doesn’t even have to be relevant.

There were love letters and teddy bears – the kind of things you’d expect to be left as a token of one’s past relationship. There were CDs and tapes: the more personal kind of items gifted from one lover to another. Then there were the totally and utterly random and quite amusing memorabilia – a bottle top, a toaster, one single shoe and a bottle of conditioner.

I think the toaster was one of my absolute favourites!

The toaster of vindication. I can’t tell you how long I laughed at that name.

I mean, is there anyone out there who doesn’t empathise with this toaster of vindication level of pettiness come the end of a relationship? Particularly if the end is particularly painful. Everybody wants to be able to toast their preferred item of choice (bagel, bread, pop-tart, crumpet etc.) at their leisure. But WOAH, what if all of a sudden your toasting rights are taken away from you?! And you have to fork out £30 for a brand new toaster?

I love everything about that. In fact, I kind of wish I had co-ownership of a toaster with my ex just so I could’ve had the opportunity to take it away from him.

You screw me over and jump in bed with another girl 3 days after I leave the country?! I take away your toasting privileges. Who’s the winner now?!

There were loads of downright comical entries just like the Toaster of Vindication, and they were so amusing that at times it was actually easy to forget why they were there. Your mind gets momentarily distracted from the fact that these items were the cause of a lot of pain and heartbreak in someone’s life at some point. 

The Museum doesn’t just focus on the end of romantic relationships, either. There’s also a lot of familial relationships that are commemorated there.

1993-2009
Sleaford, UK

A father’s love for his son or daughter is constant
A father has a direct impact on the well-being and development of his children
Children have a right to a continuing loving relationship with both parents
Children need to be protected from the harm of losing contact with one parent
When a son or daughter is alienated or estranged from his or her father, everyone suffers unnecessarily
Despite all this, the father-daughter and father-son relationship is unique and a father’s love for his children is constant. 
This donation represents the last time this father saw his children. 

This one broke my heart.

There were even more heartbreaking ones than this, too. Drug paraphernalia to commemorate a relationship broken when one party overdosed and died. A dress to commemorate a mother-daughter relationship which ended when the mother passed away, leaving her clothes behind in the possession of her daughter.

The way they arrange the items is quite clever. They tend to group all the cute and comical stories together, with one or two soul-destroying recollections scattered in between, and then all of the oh my God kill me now, this is too sad memorabilia huddled together in the two rooms at the end of the corridor.

There’s also a small podium sort of thing in the room which seems to be dedicated to death, where you can write or record your own message as a way to gain closure on one of your own failed or broken relationships.

I scribbled my message in the book, on a random page alongside a bloke called Klaus who said a fond farewell to Anna. At least, I assume that’s what he was doing. I don’t read Finnish or whatever language it was so I don’t actually know.

Anyway, I wrote a small, anonymous message, simply because I was there. I didn’t think it would bring any sort of closure or peace in regards to that specific relationship. But quite bizarrely, I walked out of that museum with an odd sense of lightness. It sort of felt like a weight was gone from my shoulders (or my heart, if we want to be specific) that I hadn’t even realised was there before.

And I didn’t even need to steal any toasters! 


If you’re interested in reading more about the Museum of Broken Relationships, and maybe want to have a nose at some of the items on display, you can check out the main website here – brokenships.com. I promise it’s nothing to do with boats in need of repair.

Also, about a million different people recommended I check out this museum when I said I was going to Croatia – so thanks!! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a museum as much as I enjoyed this.

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26 Comments

    • rhiydwi
      30th May 2017 / 2:28 pm

      It really is! Got my eyes peeled for when the touring exhibit comes back to the UK.

  1. 29th May 2017 / 11:36 am

    This is one of the most random things I have ever seen!! I would love to visit sometime, it looks like it would be a right laugh. Totally random haha

    • rhiydwi
      30th May 2017 / 2:29 pm

      Random and bizarre but SO entertaining! They have a touring exhibit that seems to make its way around the world – you should definitely keep your eye out to see if it comes anywhere near you!

  2. 29th May 2017 / 12:16 pm

    Wow! We have to visit this place when we travel to Croatia. I didn’t even know it existed! That toaster of vindication is absolutely hilarious. Also, it’s great to see a fellow Welsh travel blogger!

    • rhiydwi
      30th May 2017 / 2:31 pm

      Are you Welsh?! That’s exciting!! I spent about 2 years trying to find and connect with other Welsh bloggers and came across, like, 2! And now I’m crossing e-paths with so many, we could just about take over the world.

  3. 29th May 2017 / 1:59 pm

    Oh my word – what a hilarious museum. I love the stories of people scorned and the toaster of vindication would have had my giggling like a school girl! Probably not the best conduct for a museum(!) but such a great concept. And even better that you only paid 3.50 instead of $18!!

    • rhiydwi
      30th May 2017 / 2:32 pm

      There was actually a group of kids there on a school trip when I visited (what happened to taking kids to the National History Museum?!) so tbh there was a LOT of giggling going on haha.

  4. 29th May 2017 / 6:28 pm

    Museum of Broken Relationships is very funny name and it itself creates curiosity in mind. It is good that you paid less than $18. I like those love letters, teddy bears, CD’s preserved which were earlier token of love.

    • rhiydwi
      30th May 2017 / 3:20 pm

      Yep, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it half as much if I had to pay $18!

  5. 30th May 2017 / 2:07 am

    How strange, yet so intriguing. It sounds like a great little museum to spend a few hours in. But, I must admit, I’d totally steer clear of the two rooms containing the sad memorabilia. I’ll most probably bawl my eyes out!

    • rhiydwi
      30th May 2017 / 2:27 pm

      I wish there’d been some sort of warning about them tbh! As I visited just a few weeks after my mother passed away, I think it all hit a lot closer to home than it would have otherwise!

  6. 30th May 2017 / 12:10 pm

    NO WAY! Ok we are going to LA this summer and this sounds totally like a museum we have to go sea haha! It’s so weird it would be in Hollywood though! Like wouldn’t expect such around there!

    • rhiydwi
      30th May 2017 / 3:20 pm

      There are so many weird and wacky museums along Hollywood Boulevard! Definitely check out this one if you get the time.

  7. 30th May 2017 / 1:41 pm

    When my and my ex’s relationship ended, he recruited my brother to help him remove his belongings from my apartment while I was at work (bad idea). The ex ended up steeling a bunch of my stuff, but the thing that he took that I was extremely confused about was the comforter set off my bed. He had gifted it to me 2 months before for my birthday. It was rather girly, so him taking it was quite confusing. I asked him why the comforter, and he said he didn’t “want [me] having sex with someone else on it.” Not even joking…

    • rhiydwi
      30th May 2017 / 3:23 pm

      Oh my word, that is next level petty! Fortunately (I think?) when my ex and I broke up we were travelling, so the worst he could do was demand I pay him back £280 he’d given (GIVEN – not loaned!) to me about 3 years previously to help me pay my rent. I’m kind of tempted to submit every last possession that has anything to do with him to the museum, just for the lols.

  8. Monica
    30th May 2017 / 4:26 pm

    Very hilarious yet very interesting concept. I read your post twice to believe it’s true 😊. Toaster of vindication – such an amusing stuff. Really liked to read a real different blog. Definitely on my list when in Croatia 👍

  9. 30th May 2017 / 9:49 pm

    I’m going to Zagreb this summer, so thank you for making me aware of this cool museum! I love going to “alternative” museums to break up all of the historical ones.

    • rhiydwi
      31st May 2017 / 10:47 am

      In that case you will LOVE Zagreb! They have a whole bunch of random ones. The Mushroom Museum was unfortunately closed during my visit (not sure if permanently closed or not, sad face) but that was top of my list originally!

  10. Jean
    30th May 2017 / 11:14 pm

    I don’t know how did they toast without the toaster? Such a rareitem in the world 😂 I still giggle at this. Oh what a fun and unique place to go to.

  11. 31st May 2017 / 11:12 am

    The other day, I read about the Museum of Failures that is located in Sweden. I am more interested in quirky museums. I searched more about the Museum of Broken Relationships’ website after reading your post. It is so fascinating. While I was browsing the different items, it made me feel vulnerable. The items are representations of people whom they used to cherish or passionate about. I would really love to visit this place someday.

  12. 31st May 2017 / 12:38 pm

    When we went to Zagreb, we looked for stuff to do and came across details of this museum. We spent a couple of hours here…and it evoked such mixed feelings in us…broken parental relationships, lover relationships. Some were such sad stories…while some were really silly! Toaster of vindication…ha ha…it makes me feel that it will just come to life and take revenge 😉

  13. 1st June 2017 / 6:29 am

    This is quite interesting ,, never heard about a museum of a broken relationship. The entire concept is quite fascinating and the gifts that you have mentioned – Teddy bear, love letter makes sense but one pair of shoe or toaster ??? LOL

  14. 1st June 2017 / 1:44 pm

    Bahaha the toaster of vindication. That’s genius. I love the concept of this place, it sounds fascinating and heart wrenching at the same time. I imagine the Hollywood version would have been crammed with less genuine memories somehow, like evidence of celebrity relationships which are no longer a thing. Seeing the original one for a fraction of the price is a win for sure.

    http://amyevans.blog – Amy

  15. 2nd June 2017 / 10:23 am

    Why have I never heard of this before? The Museum of Broken Relationships sounds amazing! Well, it sounds both funny (example; the toaster) and sad (the father who never saw his children again). I hope I get to visit next time I’m in Hollywood (if I go back).

  16. 2nd June 2017 / 12:20 pm

    Its so bizarre yet so interesting. I had never heard of this before. But the concept is just so remarkable. I mean, we never even think of exhibiting stuff that reminds us of broken relationships. Its underrated, given that these little somethings bring back so much nostalgia!
    The dad story broke my heart!

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