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The Museum of Broken Relationships is a museum in Zagreb dedicated to failed love relationships. Its exhibits include personal objects left over from former lovers, accompanied by brief descriptions.
The "museum" began as a traveling collection of donated items, the museum has since found a permanent location in Zagreb. It received the Kenneth Hudson Award for Europe's most innovative museum in 2011.
The museum was founded by two Zagreb-based artists, Olinka Vištica, a film producer, and Dražen Grubišić, a sculptor. 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.
Three years later, Grubišić contacted Vištica with this idea, this time in earnest. They started asking their friends to donate objects left behind from their break-ups, and the collection was born. It was shown to the public for the first time in 2006, in Gliptotheque Zagreb, as a part of the 41st Zagreb Salon.
In the years that followed, the collection went on a world tour, visiting Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Macedonia, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Along the way, it gathered new items donated by members of the public; more than 30 objects were donated by Berliners alone during the exhibition in that city in 2007.
In the meantime, after unsuccessful attempts to interest the Croatian Ministry of Culture in finding a temporary location for the museum, Vištica and Grubišić decided to make a private investment and rent a 300-square-meter space in Zagreb's Upper Town, making it the city's first privately owned museum.
The museum, finally opened in October 2010, proved popular with foreign tourists in particular. In May 2011, the Museum of Broken Relationships received the Kenneth Hudson Award, given out by the European Museum Forum (EMF).
The Museum of Broken Relationships encourages discussion and reflection not only on the fragility of human relationships but also on the political, social, and cultural circumstances surrounding the stories being told. The museum respects the audience's capacity for understanding wider historical, social issues inherent to different cultures and identities and provides a catharsis for donors on a more personal level.