The Museum of Broken Relationships started back in 2006 as a shared desire of two exes, Drazen Grubisic and Olinka Vistica, to commemorate their recently ended four-year relationship.
Together they organized an intimate art project which would display those keepsakes — both theirs and others’ — which become impossible to throw away after a relationship ends. The project became a traveling exhibition which allowed visitors to browse thousands of mementos, donated by anonymous strangers from around the world, honoring all types of loving relationships.
Now, the founders have collected some of the most heartwarming, heartbreaking, and entertaining items in their first book, The Museum of Broken Relationships: Modern Love in 203 Everyday Objects. Below are some of our favorites.
May 2008 to January 10, 2009
Richmond, VA, USA
“In 2008 I was sixty-two; he was thirty-four. I was not looking for him; he was not looking for me.
The universe opened a door, and we walked through it. He gave me a magical time.
On January 10, 2009, I let him go. I let him go not because I wanted the magic to end, but because it was the best ending for a relationship that was destined to end since the day it began.
After I die, my family will be sorting through what’s left behind of my life, and they will not find Mr. Thirty-Four. I’ve removed all the ‘evidence’ and stored the memories in my heart, except for these four discs of music. Mr. Thirty-Four put this music together and gave it to me because he wanted to give me something important. He wanted to give me something he loved. He gave me music.
Giving these discs to you honors him, and it honors a broken heart.
“Mejor Sola Que Mal Acompañada” tile
August 29, 1987 to December 4, 2004
Houston, TX, USA
“After eighteen years of marriage, my husband ran off with a 26-year-old coworker. Shortly thereafter I went to Tijuana, Mexico, to have this tile made. It has served as a daily reminder that I am ‘better alone than in bad company.’ Since then I have raised my two sons on my own and obtained my master’s degree in nonprofit leadership. I now share this artifact to inspire others facing a relationship loss to focus on claiming and expanding their own personal power.”
2009 to 2013
Lexington, MA, USA
“I was the landlord of an apartment in Lexington, just a few blocks down from my house. The couple who stayed there fought often, and I assume they broke up after I evicted them. They weren’t very happy with each other. Cleaning up the apartment after they left, I found this flip phone in the oven. I think one of them put it there to spite the other.”
Empty wooden bottle of rum
July 2014 to June 2015
Sherman Oaks, CA, USA