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Art Of Breakups: Museum Enshrines Relics Of Relationships Past

Ever wondered what to do with that special memento from a past relationship, that token that's just too challenging to toss, not feasible to return, but yet too painful to hold on to?

And no, we're not talking about your broken heart, although we would all relish a quick fix for such.

While emotional fallout might be the thing we most often wish to be rid of after a relationship has ended, the tangibles — the bits and pieces of a life built together – can also make it challenging to let go and move on.

Well, now you can donate those trinkets of love to a museum, The Museum of Broken Relationships, to be precise. The new museum is set to open in Los Angeles in May and they're currently in the process of building their collection.

(We asked people on Twitter to share some of their items from relationships past, and you'll find those memories shared throughout this story.)

Alexis Hyde is the museum's director and she says they're accepting submissions from persons overcoming any type of broken relationship.

"We're talking about all relationships," Hyde tells NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. "It is lovers and it is romantic, but it's also your family, your friends, maybe business relationships, or even like with your country. I actually even got submissions from someone breaking up with your younger more idealistic self."

The brokenhearted have been submitting a potpourri of souvenirs ranging from "ratty T-shirts," to photo albums and pieces of jewelry.

"These are usually items of not very much physical value, but the kind of things that people talk about saving in a fire, that can't be replaced, things with a lot of emotional heaviness to them," Hyde says.

The museum will also showcase a permanent collection, where some more valuable items will be on display.

"A few wedding rings, wedding dresses," Hyde says. "I'm hopefully getting a size double zero jeans from a woman who's a recovering anorexic from an emotionally abusive relationship she'd been in. And now she's in a healthier, emotional and physical place, she wants to let go of this token of this unhealthy time."

Some might argue it's unhealthy to immortalize something from a failed relationship and that donating to the Museum of Broken Relationship might not be a good idea.

"It's definitely a doubled edge situation. I think in giving us your objects you are moving on, you're actually physically cutting ties with that and it does provide catharsis," Hyde says.

It must be noted that there already exists a Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia. This one opened in 2010 and it's affiliated with the new one in the U.S. John B. Quinn, the president of the Los Angeles location, discovered the Croatian museum while on vacation.

As to the chosen hometown for the museum, Hyde says it's because it's a city of dreamers where many are open to new ideas, especially when it comes to art and community.

"People come here with these amazing dreams and goals and it's also a land of crushing defeat. Not all of these things work out and everyone's like, 'Los Angeles is perfect.'"

So whatever the source of your broken heart, Hyde is encouraging you to preserve for posterity that keepsake of your relationship by donating it to the Museum of Broken Relationships. But she's pleading that unlike the "symbol of undying love" that one woman submitted, please don't send her another vial of blood.

Don't worry, it was not Angelina Jolie.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.