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Museum Helps Lighten the Load After Relationships End

If the Museum of Modern Art has Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” and The Louvre has Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Mona Lisa,” which museum should exhibit Amber Clisura’s barbecue smoker that her ex-husband made from an old oil drum?

Museum of Broken RelationshipsWhy, the Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles, of course.

Perhaps this is one of the 50 ways to leave your lover that didn’t make it into Paul Simon’s song: deposit your heartbreak-related items in a museum. It’s where spurned lovers and jilted exes have deposited the things that once held special meaning in their relationships, but now are sad reminders of love and loss.

The Museum of Broken Relationships “explores broken love and other human relationships – what they mean to us, what they tell us about what we share and how we can learn and grow from them,” according to its website.

Artists Drazen Grubisic and Olinka Vistica developed the concept while going through their own breakup and wondering what people did with objects that had been meaningful in their relationships. They established their first exhibition of these objects – donated anonymously by people – in 2006 and since then, it has toured the world. They opened a permanent museum in Zagreb, Croatia in 2010.

Some might find it ironic that attorney John B. Quinn founded the museum in Los Angeles in June 2016, albeit surprising that he is a business trial lawyer and not a divorce lawyer.

Quinn told The New York Times last year why he opened the museum with Grubisic’s and Vistica’s permission: “They’re human stories. We’ve all had broken relationships. We all know these experiences. Without going into a lot of detail about myself, this is not an unknown phenomenon for me.”

Each exhibit is an object accompanied by a story that explains its significance. The objects run the gamut from ordinary to unusual. The story behind an iron on display reads, “This iron was used to iron my wedding suit. Now it is the only thing left.”

A forsaken lover who donated a display of mix tapes explained that her husband made them for her, and after 27 years together, he left her for someone else. “I cannot keep the cassettes any long and do not wish to,” she wrote.

Clisura, a Los Angeles fashion designer and textile artist, once treasured the handmade gift from her ex, but told The Associated Press that it eventually became “a sad symbol of the relationship.” After considering selling it for scrap or giving it to a neighbor, she decided to donate it to the museum after learning there was a call for submissions.

Are you ready to lighten your emotional load? The Museum of Broken Relationships offers an online form for those who wish to donate an object.

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