One of Europe’s most innovative museums celebrates five years in Zagreb.
It was a long distance relationship between Zagreb and Sarajevo which lasted for almost two years. He bought a stuffed centipede, and each time they saw each other, they would cut off one foot. But, the relationship ended and the centipede had its legs preserved, at least most of them. Today, it is part of the Museum of Broken Relationships, as just one of the exhibits which recall relationships between their respective owners in a museum which has been selected as the most innovative museum in Europe, and today celebrates five years of its existence, reports Vecernji List on December 10, 2015.
“It all started as an art project, considering the fact that almost all exhibits are based on a personal experience. It was inspired by our own personal break up”, say Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, authors of the project. Although they were not sure if anyone would want to donate their mementoes, they managed to gather their first 40 items from family members, friends and relatives.
The collection has expanded and in 2010 it was turned into a museum opened in the Upper Town in Zagreb, with 92 permanent exhibits and more than 1,600 items in storage. In five years, the museum has been visited by more than 300,000 people, mostly foreigners. The number of visitors increases every year, doubling from 40,000 to 80,000 per year since 2012.
“All visitors are visibly touched, and couples are always hugging a little bit stronger than when they were coming in”, explain the authors and note that, although many believe it is a sad exhibition, it actually connects people. The act of gifting items to the museum itself can have a therapeutic effect because people in that way symbolically close a chapter in their lives.
“Exhibits can be sent to us, but some people insist on coming personally. One man drove from Prague to Zagreb for his memento to be stored in the museum”, curator Ivana Družetić says. She adds that anyone can donate an item, and some people even wanted to give cars and pianos, but they had to refuse such oversized items. Also, there are situations when people pick their items back because they have renewed their relationship.
The museum regularly visits other countries, where mementos from those countries are collected. All of them are eventually brought to Zagreb, so the museum now has mementos from India, Argentina, the United States, and many other countries.