Over a year ago, I was listening to NPR and heard a story about the Museum of Broken Relationships. The first Museum of Broken Relationships opened in Croatia and the second location opened in Los Angeles, on Hollywood Blvd, just a block from the Hollywood and Highland mall.
Last week, I found myself in Hollywood with a few hours to kill, so I headed over to check it out.
I visited on a Thursday afternoon in late October and the museum was busy. It was so busy, that it was almost difficult to navigate the exhibits. The Museum of Broken Relationships is a popular place! I paid my eighteen dollar admission fee and spent nearly two hours exploring. If it had been less crowded, I think I would have finished in an hour or so. It's not a big space.
The museum is comprised of artifacts sent in by anonymous donors from around the world, the donated objects are displayed with a story regarding the significance of the object. As one might expect, many of the objects involve broken romantic relationships, things like wedding dresses and love letters. However, many of the exhibits are not about romantic love, they include damaged parental relationships and friendships that have crumbled. There is even a nicotine patch symbolizing a broken relationship with addiction. Names are not included on any of the objects, apart from what you might see written on a letter or other note.
The exception is a piece from The Bachelorette, the dried final rose that Nick Viall presented to Kaitlyn Bristowe, when she rejected his proposal. Non-fans of the show, might not understand the rose, as it is simply labeled Nick, without reference to The Bachelorette. I'm a fan of the series, so I got a kick of of this. When Viall was The Bachelor in his own season, he planned a date at the Museum of Broken Relationships and showed off his displayed rose.
Some of the stories are still full of emotion: anger, sadness, regret...but many symbolize a catharsis, as the storyteller has now let the physical baggage of their relationship go, set free their story into the universe. As a writer, I can appreciate the importance of sharing a difficult and emotional story. I found a huge sense of relief when I participated in sharing a true story about my aunt and uncle for The Ricochet: A Storyteller Show, last month.
The Museum of Broken Relationships is an incredible journey into the human experience and well-worth a visit. I found the whole concept fascinating. I loved seeing the objects and getting a little snippet into a life-altering moment of a strangers life. I would not recommend it as a place for people to take young children, as some of the exhibits include adult content and the museum is heavy on reading. The stories are vital to understanding the artifacts, but know that a large chunk of your visit will be spent reading the stories. The Museum of Broken Relationships will certainly put you in an introspective, falling down the rabbit of memories, type of mood. You may even be inspired to make your own donation to the collection. Everyone has their own stories to tell.