Museum of Broken Relationships

Have you ever had your heart broken? Do you own an object that won’t let you forget? Give it to us, and join a global exhibition of loss and healing.

The Otago Museum is co-organising the collection of objects for the upcoming Museum of Broken Relationships exhibition in Dunedin, New Zealand.

We’re seeking your objects of memory and loss; anything that reminds you of a cessation of a relationship, whether it be with a homeland or a place, a lover, a friend, family, or anyone else who has left a hole in your heart.

The selected objects, along with others from around the world will be on display at Otago Museum from 21 December 2019 to 15 March 2020.

All donations become part of the Museum of Broken Relationships’ collection and may be exhibited in the permanent display in Zagreb or elsewhere in the world.

Become a part of global emotional history!

Donations can be made until Friday 1 November 2019 at


Destroyed VHS tape of my father's wedding

Mid 1990s – 2009

Denver, USA

My parents divorced after 26 years of marriage and, soon after, my father began seeing a woman from his office. She saw a meal ticket, hunted him, married him and then promptly quit her job, never to work again. He continued to work full time, retired, and then went back to work to pay for her endless spending. She began a pattern of sleeping all day and then spending her nights buying senseless items from the Home Shopping Network. She ruined him both financially and emotionally. When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given one month to live, her hoarding habits barred him from any hospice services in his own home. His insurance, however, didn’t cover hospice facilities, only the care. She then tried to put him in a home for the indigent, refusing to allow him to use his own retirement savings to pay for his own hospice care as this would ‘cut into the money I get when he dies.’ My mother, the jilted ex-wife, and his 91-year-old mother took it upon themselves to pay for his $1200-a-week care. The already strained relationship only got worse as time progressed. We were all advised by the hospice staff to avoid any contact with his wife. When my father passed away, not only did I refuse to go to his funeral to avoid this awful woman, but my only sister, his only two siblings, his ex-wife and his own mother also refused. I was shocked (and horrified) a few years later when I found this tape of his wedding. I called my sister and we agreed – the tape must die. What you see has been run over with my car, stabbed with a screwdriver, shot several times with a rifle, sawed in half, chopped with an axe, and the tape itself was torched. It was highly therapeutic.


A can of love incense


Bloomington, Indiana

Doesn't work.


A key – bottle opener

January 23, 1988 – June 30, 1998

Ljubljana, Slovenia

You talked to me of love and presented me with small gifts every day; this is just one of them. The key to the heart. You turned my head; you just did not want to sleep with me. I realized just how much you loved me only after you died of AIDS.


A stiletto shoe

1966, six weeks, and 1998, a few hours

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

It was 1959, I was ten, T. was eleven. We were very much in love. When I told my mother we had gone skinny dipping in the canal, I got my ears boxed and was sent to spend the rest of the school holidays with an aunt.

When I was fifteen, we had more wonderful times together until he moved to Germany with his parents. Our goodbye came with many tears and promises. We would write every week and never marry anyone else.

It was 1998 and I had just stopped working in prostitution. I wanted to write a book about S&M and was going to work for a dominatrix for a few weeks. On the second day, the dominatrix allowed me to belittle and whip a client. First I made him lick my stilettos. Because he wasn’t submissive enough and had the nerve to address me with ‘mistress’ (instead of ‘high mistress’), I wanted to whip him harder.

And that was when I recognised him, 'T., is that you?' He was startled and stood up. At once we were back in 1966. He told me he had the desire to be submissive because his father had often beaten him as a child. T. was now in his second marriage, and he wanted to make it work. It was better we never saw each other again.

After a few hours we said our goodbyes, and he asked, 'Can I keep one of your stilettos as a memento?' When he walked out the door, it felt like my stiletto-less foot was no longer mine.

Gift 3: Ceramic Heart

2001- 2006

San Francisco, California

This is one of the two ceramic hearts that were fired in the sand on the beach at Pescadero, California by burying them under a large fire. The glass beads inside were supposed to melt. From nearing the end of the relationship. These three gifts were kept in a trunk in the basement for three years. Seems much longer.


Mannequin hands

5 years

Berlin, Germany

I could not take any more than five years of a love-hate relationship. One night I left my room and did not come back until the next morning when I found it completely destroyed, sprayed all over with polyurethane foam. A total chaos. My favourite mannequin had no choice but to believe it.


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