York Castle Museum

Museum of Broken Relationships

22 March 2019 – 22 March 2020

About the exhibition

Just as Britain is set to break up with the European Union, York Castle Museum brings a collection of stories and symbolic possessions to the city which relate to the ways we fall out of love.

Always heartfelt, sometimes humorous and often deeply moving, the collections from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, will be enriched with objects from York’s collections which illustrate a key moment in a relationship breaking down.

Some of the items on show include:

  • a can of love incense which “Doesn’t Work”
  • a letter detailing 10 reasons why a lover should stay
  • a pair of fluffy handcuffs simply captioned “tie me up”

Below are some examples of objects already in the Museum of Broken Relationships’ collections:

A can of love incense, 1994, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
“Doesn’t work.”

Handcuffs, 2005, Zagreb, Croatia
“Ata me” (Spanish for “tie me up”)

Toy motorcycle made of wood, September 2013 – December 2013, Mexico City, Mexico

“My ex-girlfriend gave me this motorcycle. She hated that I rode motorcycles and even vowed that she would never ride mine. Soon after we began dating, I had an accident. I broke my leg and had to wear a cast, stay in bed, etc. One day she brought me this toy motorcycle. At first I thought it was a nice gift, but then she said: “Bringing you this seems fitting seeing as how you are only capable of taking care of something of this size. You’ll have to get yourself a toy woman too because I seriously doubt you can handle a woman like me.” I decided I never wanted to see or hear from her again. We haven’t spoken since.”

A list of 10 reasons to stay
3 weeks, December 2011
London, UK

“I met her at the beginning of December, not wanting anything serious and definitely not looking for a girlfriend. After constant contact I knew that she was something special and the thought of her returning to Australia on 29th December was not something I looked forward to. So I wrote the list, but forgot to include number 11 – These feelings don’t happen to me often.”

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.”