Zagreb: Breaking up is hard to do
Zagreb has a lot to offer: great shopping, nice architecture, and a slew of museums. But the best museum in Zagreb wasn’t in any of the guidebooks we saw; Privi and I found it by chance. We were walking to a church when I saw this sign and blurted out, “The Museum of WHAT?” We decided to risk our eternal salvation and skip the church to check it out.
At first I thought the museum might be about war. After all, the Balkans have had their share of broken political relationships. Fortunately, this was about something a little lighter and a lot juicier: breakups. That’s right, readers: the entire museum consisted of items associated with failed relationships. Stuffed animals, sweatshirts from a beloved’s college football team, wedding dresses, and more. Placards by each item explained the significance of the item and the end of the relationship. The exhibits were divided by the type of item or story. There was a section devoted to breakup humor, where a “Dumb Frisbee” exhibit explained how useless the gift-and the giver-turned out to be. Some stories (divorce, infidelity) were serious. Others (untimely death) were tragic. Oddly, there was a whole section about shoes received or given as gifts.
The curators accepted any kind of breakup story. In the “thank goodness the other person got away” department, one guy wrote a rambling letter about his heartbreak when he left his country and girlfriend, subsequently married someone else who he fathered a child with, but was heartbroken because his former love had no interest in reconnecting with him 15 years later. Oh, and he was still married. Classy guy. Another person turned in one of the “many” cat collars she wore when she was in a relationship. No comment on that one. Prvi’s favorite exhibit was an axe, used by the donor to destroy a piece of a live-in girlfriend’s furniture every day that she was on vacation-with her new lover.
The museum is a great combination of voyeurism and entertainment. It’s designed to make you think you’ve seen it all-until you read the next breakup story. While not every exhibit was written well, some had twists that made us laugh or grimace. I’ve included a funny example here, but I have to warn you that it’s mildly NSFW.
The MBR has been on tour all over the world, including two cities in the United States. It’s permanently housed in Zagreb, but I’m hoping they go back on tour soon. Check out their website, encourage your local museum to host the exhibition, and start collecting your best breakup stories.