I was browsing the Berkoleow’s bookstore in Darlinghurst when I came across a book that I just had to pick up and look at. The title intrigued me. ‘The Museum Of Broken Relationships’.  

I read the introduction by Olinka Vistica. She writes that the genesis of the museum concept came about after the end of her four year love affair with co-editor Drazen Grubisic.

The couple felt bereft and empty. They searched for an object in their home that they could most remember their relationship by. Looking around their room they spotted a little windup toy that they nicknamed ‘Honey Bunny’. It was a toy that when they came home from a busy day saw marching in circles the minute they opened their front door. ‘Honey Bunny’ made up for the pet that they just didn’t get around to having.

This got them to thinking that a lot of couples must have at least one object that, in a way, epitomized their relationship. Then they came up with the idea- what if there could be a repository made to contain memorable objects of love affairs that had come to an end. Their thoughts turned to creating a Museum of Broken Relationships where these objects could be received and housed. It would be good if along with the object the aggrieved lover would write a bit of a back story to the object and the relationship they had been in.

The first incarnation of the Museum came about when Olinka and Drazen set up an art installation at a local arts festival in Croatia. A stranded ship container served as a harbour for forty objects of love’s wreckage. The objects had been entrusted to them by both close friends and strangers – the personal stories of their owners were the only text.

The art installation resonated with festival-goers. Olinka and Vistica had struck a chord. They ended up being invited to some twenty countries to do their installation. 

An ever evolving global collection of keepsakes, trinkets of no objective value, each of them a precarious witness to the end of a relationship, were posted to them who realised their dreams by establishing two permanent museums in Zagreb and Los Angeles.

This book is an addition to the established museums. Every page contains the photographed object and the brief story to the relationship.

This publication has been delicately, beautifully put together. How best to describe this book?! Most of all its disarming. There are so many stories, all very to the point. Here are just a few of them.

A woman donates her wedding dress to the museum with the proviso- Can I get it back if I ever decide to marry again?

Another woman donates her joint cheque book, the sign of a committed relationship. She kept it for a while after they had broken up. Now she can’t bear to have it anymore and has donated it to the museum.

A young Korean woman donated her rubber gloves. Why? Because all she felt she was doing in the relationship was house cleaning!

A man donated the homemade monopoly set he made to play with his partner. They ended up only playing it once. Now that they weren’t together anymore, it was time to let it go of it.

Another man has donated his book of Marcel Proust;’s ‘Remembrance Of things Past’. He used to read passages of Proust’s work out loud to his partner, and they loved this time together.

This book is for anyone who as per the book’s dedication goes: “For everyone who has ever caught a flicker of love and seen it disappear.”


Title:  The Museum Of Broken Relationships

Editors: Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic

ISBN (Hardcover) 9781474605496

ISBN (eBook) 9781474605519


The Museum Of Broken Relationships Zagreb

The Museum Of Broken Relationships Los Angeles