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Museum of Broken Relationships: Mending the Broken Hearts on Hollywood Boulevard

By Genie Davis

January 25, 2017

If you’ve ever had a broken heart, or cried for that ‘happily ever after’ that never came, just in time for Valentine’s Day, make a visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships on Hollywood Boulevard.

Interior of the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

This fascinating museum exhibits objects donated by those who’ve experienced a sad love story, from love letters to breast implants. Displaying anonymously donated objects from around the world, there are sad, funny, and hopeful stories here, and the expression of the welcome theme that everyone has had an experience like this. Donators and visitors alike experience a catharsis that’s both unburdening and entertaining.

Olinka Vistina and Drazen Grubisic, two artists in the middle of their own break-up in Zagreb, are the museum’s originators. According to museum spokeswoman Erika Paget, the couple initially joked that between them they could start a museum with the artifacts of their relationship.

An artifact at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

“They stayed friends and revisted the idea a few years later, and opened their first pop-up show in 2006. The exhibition was so popular that they immediately started touring and opened the first Museum of Broken Relationships brick and mortar location in Zagreb in 2010,” Paget says. “John B. Quinn, a Los Angeles attorney, visited the Zagreb museum in 2015 and was so taken with the universality of the show that he contacted the artists and began talks to bring it to Los Angeles. We opened in June of 2016.”

Paget says Quinn’s museum is thriving in Hollywood. “The city is a place that’s steeped in big dreams and crushing defeats. Hollywood is also a place where people are open to new ideas,” she laughs. “Moving pictures! Talkies!” And now, a museum about – lost relationships.

A collage of artifacts from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

Paget notes that the collection comes from all over the world, as well as locally. Overall, the varied exhibits “show how even in our most lonely and disconnected times, these are universal experiences. No one is immune. What happens when you see these stories, all the different types of relationships from all different types of people, is that you begin to understand the strength of the human spirit and what truly connects us across all borders.” Paget adds that “We are all looking for human connection and love, and we all trip on that journey.” Visiting the museum and seeing that universality first hand is an experience that is “extremely bolstering to one’s soul.”

The museum started their call for objects in February, 2015, and it’s still open. “We receive between 5 and 20 objects a week,” she notes.

That’s a lot of broken hearts looking for closure.

“Our audience is everyone,” Paget says, describing museum visitors. We all have the language to speak on what is included in this collection. We have all had experiences with loss and heartbreak, whether its minor or much larger.”

A submission arrives to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

The popular museum is a spot visited by people from all walks of life, at all stages of relationships, and of all ages. “While it can be very cathartic if you are going through a difficult time, it is also a beautiful place to visit if you are in a stable relationship. It can be a reminder of what we are working on and what we should appreciate in our lives.”

The serene space also brings people a little closer to their own vulnerabilities, and those of others. “It drives you to be a bit kinder in your everyday dealings, because you never know what someone else is going through.”

From a poignant collection of origami cranes to used emery boards, visitors will find a wide variety of emotional artifacts, accompanied by notes from donors explaining them, together shaping a tender and intimate experience of love, loss, and healing.

Museum of Broken Relationships
6751 Hollywood Blvd.

Museum of Broken Relationships, Hollywood, California. (Courtesy photo)

Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own

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