This L.A. Museum Wants Your Ex-Partner's Stuff

by Rachel Sanoff

Our gut reaction to heartbreaking evidence of relationships gone by is to usually throw things into the garbage — if not into a hot fireplace. But now there is a place where these emotional historical objects can take on a new life, and maybe even help another broken heart cope with its own loss — the Museum of Broken Relationships.

In 2006, a pair of artists and ex-lovers, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, came up with an idea for a traveling art show made up solely of donated items from people mourning failed romances. The result was a collection of unique, seemingly random and unimportant items left behind by partners that profoundly symbolized the universal feeling of heartbreak. By 2010, the Museum of Broken Relationships had a permanent home in Zagrab, Croatia and has organized exhibits across the world.

Soon, in May 2016, the Museum of Broken Relationships will have another permanent home in Los Angeles, near the famous Hollywood and Highland intersection. The museum has approximately 100 donations, 70 coming from people in Croatia and 30 coming from L.A. locals. Is there an object that tears your heart out each time it catches your eye? Fear not! The museum is still accepting donations (all completely anonymous), so you can let that pain go into a beautiful collective space. Fill out this online form to get the process started.


The museum says:

Some relationships end – with lovers, with loved ones, with dreams and with cities. If you’ve wished to unburden the emotional load by erasing everything that reminds you of that painful experience by throwing it all away – don’t. Give it to us.

While the museum won't open until May, they are hosting pop up events across Los Angeles. L.A. Weekly was at their recent exhibit held at Tenants of the Trees in Silver Lake, where displayed objects included a drawer full of mix tapes, a bouquet of paper flowers, a stack of Playboy magazines, a rubber apron, and a red blinking light for a dog collar. Each item is presented alongside a card that includes the type of object, its place of origin, and a few words, written by the heartbroken provider of the object, explaining the symbolism and importance of it for the failed relationship. At the original museum in Croatia, a pet's chew toy is displayed with a card reading, "His dog left behind more traces than he did."


If you can't decide whether or not to donate to the museum, consider how the object in question makes you feel. As stated in L.A. Weekly, "Some are things that were too hard for people to keep; others are things about which you can imagine the owner saying, 'Why the hell do I still have this?'" Then remember that your item may make someone laugh or cry, and maybe even help them to heal from their pain, or help you to heal from your own.

Follow the Museum of Broken Relationships on Twitter and Instagram to find out about more pop-up events prior to its official opening.

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