For as long as there's been love in the world, there's been love lost. And when love ends, what do we do with the mementos from relationships that once represented something beautiful but now are like tokens of heartbreak? The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, and the newer outpost of the same name in Hollywood, CA, are a collection of more than 700 such items from all over the world, representing relationships past, along with the stories of heartbreak or redemption that accompany them.
The collection includes items one might expect: wedding dresses, once-cherished mix tapes, and photo albums. But it's the unique items that steal the show: a small bottle filled with tears, an ax used to smash the furniture, a never-opened bottle of Champagne, the prosthetic leg of a war veteran who fell in love with his therapist, and a pair of size double-zero jeans once owned by a woman recovering from anorexia after an abusive relationship. The museum sees the donations as cathartic, founders said. "[It] offers the chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creativity," a museum representative said.
Read on to see five moving stories, all courtesy of the Museum of Broken Relationships, that accompany different items that once held a significant meaning for the people who donated them to the museum.