The Museum of Broken Relationships

The mementos of broken relationships usually sit in a dusty closet. So what happens when someone decides to collect them and display them to the public? Meet Alexis Hyde, director of the new Los Angeles Museum of Broken Relationships, on Hollywood Boulevard. She curated a space filled with the crowdsourced totems of heartbreak, sprung from all sorts of relationships: romantic, familial or platonic.

“The types of objects range from all types of things that you might expect, love notes or a teddy bear or an old t-shirt, and then other things you wouldn’t expect, like a jar of contact lenses that are used or ripped up jeans that have obviously been cut off of somebody. You really get to see and sense what these totems mean to all of these people individually but how they’re all kind of investigating the same themes,” Hyde said.

“And it’s kind of a motif of our own human existence that no matter where you’re from or who you are, how old or what kind of relationship you’re talking about, that we all go through these things. That no one’s immune. And it’s very connecting, really.”

The for-profit museum is being bankrolled by John B. Quinn, a business trial lawyer, art collector and owner of Q Sushi in downtown Los Angeles. Last year he went on vacation to Zagreb, Croatia with his extended family and they visited the Museum of Broken Relationships. That location was founded in 2010 as a conceptual art project by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić. It subsequently toured 25 cities around the world. The Zagreb location has contributed some objects to kickstart the LA museum’s collection, with other pieces crowdsourced from anonymous donors.

“When the people have come to drop off some of the more oddly-shaped objects that don’t fit easily in the mail, and if they’re Los Angeles locals, they’ve come in, and sometimes there’s been tears and it’s been hard. They’ve been like, you’re going to have to take this out of my hands because I’m having a difficult time letting it go. And I’ll take it and I can see the relief on their face of, finally, I’ve physically let go of this thing I’ve been holding onto for too long. And they feel lighter and it’s really wonderful,” Hyde said.

“It’s definitely not the story for everyone. But some people have been really very happy to have a place to donate these things where they know that their story is going to be honored and that it’s not a trash can.”

Listen to DnA’s interview with Alexis Hyde and John B. Quinn:

Watch a video for Veruca Salt’s song “The Museum Of Broken Relationships,” inspired by the museum in Zagreb: