Friday, June 3, 2016

The Museum of Broken Relationships (audio)

Audrey Ngo (;; Ashley Wells, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly

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The view outside the Museum of Broken Relationships on Hollywood Blvd. (Audrey Ngo)
I can totally donate mix tapes!
Love letters, mix tapes, boyfriend T-shirts, wedding rings...these are just some examples of things that are left behind when relationships end.
When that break up happens, anyone might consider destroying the relics or crying over them in private, all while bingeing on an obscene amount of Ben and Jerry’s and breakup songs.

I offered her my heart.
But now there’s another option: donating them to the Museum of Broken Relationships.
It's a new spot opening Saturday [June 4, 2016] at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. in Los Angeles. The space isn’t very big. It’s pretty sparse. But scattered throughout are remembrances of lost love:
  • a collection of old cologne bottles that belonged to a dead husband,
  • a wooden spoon given to a philandering ex-boyfriend who liked to cook,
  • and old breast implants that were removed after a breakup. (Yes, those [gross silicone atrocities] are actually on display).
The idea for a museum of broken relationships came from two artists in Croatia who, themselves, had broken up.
What's the saddest thing in the world? Lovelorn mix tapes about unrequited love (NPR).
The collection traveled the world before a permanent museum was set up in Zagreb in 2010. Here at the L.A. museum, like it’s sister site in Zagreb, all items are donated anonymously.
For some, donating can be like purging old demons, without actually destroying the keepsakes.
"My best friend likes to tag things she thinks I’ll like on Facebook. So she tagged me, 'The Museum of Broken Relationships,' and so the first thing I thought of was this dang baby cactus that I cannot stand like, I’m gonna get rid of it."
That’s Kevin. His boyfriend broke up with him just shy of their six month anniversary in February. When they were together, Kevin asked his ex for a love letter as a Xmas present, but he ended up with a cactus."I think the cactus is symbolic of how him and I were never on the same page," he says.

Kevin’s cactus is one of over 250 donations to the L.A. museum. Nearly 100 items will be chosen for the opening exhibition. But why would so many people take something as private as a breakup and make it public?

Donation: Britney Spears 1.0 model sex robot
"It’s almost a public shaming in a sense, especially if it was a very particular, recognizable object," says USC Sociology Professor and Marriage and Family Therapist Julie Albright. "In some subconscious way, it’s sort of letting others know how they were done wrong."
The museum’s president, John B. Quinn, has a different perspective on why people donate. "It’s cathartic to have your story told," he says. More
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