This museum grew from a traveling exhibition based on the concept of failed relationships and their ruins. However, these stories take many different forms, including divorce, loss of loved ones, terminated jobs, growing up, or simply life-changing decisions. There is an item that has been donated to the museum that signifies this change, accompanied by a story. Some of the stories, of course, are rather sad.. but there are also stories that are uplifting, snarky, embarrassing and even joyous.
Many of the stories were very much along the lines of ‘The Bridges of Madison County.’
Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from grief and loss, the Museum offers the chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the museum’s collection. So yes, if you ever visit Zagreb, bring a relic from a past relationship of some kind, along with a good story, and leave it at the museum as a part of your emotional recovery.
Whatever the motivation for donating personal belongings – be it sheer exhibitionism, therapeutic relief, or simple curiosity – people embraced the idea of exhibiting their emotional legacy as a sort of ritual, a solemn ceremony. Our societies acknowledge marriages, funerals, and even graduation farewells, but deny us any formal recognition of the demise of a relationship, despite its strong emotional effect.
As a testament to how surprisingly wonderful this museum is, it is the only museum I have ever been to in my life where I took time to see every piece of the entire exhibit and took the time to read the entire description for every single item. So yeah.. if you are in Zagreb.. you should go.
A few photos to share this cathartic experience, for those of you that can’t make it to Zagreb.
This is probably my favorite piece of the whole exhibit.
“When I moved out, and across the country, I took the toaster. That’ll show you. How are you going to toast anything now?”
You can feel all of the petty, pent-up rage in that passive-aggressive note, and you shamefully identify and inwardly applaud.
For a virtual museum experience, you can browse many items from the vast museum collection online. Just go to their website and you will find many stories for you right on their home page.
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