Museum Solves the Social Problems: a Case Study on Museum of Broken Relationships

HeritageForAll – Global Collaborations Program (2017)

By Ms. Shaimaa Matar (

She is a student of a master of art in Museum Studies, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management, Helwan University. She has an extensive background as a museum curator in museological issues. She has participated various activities through her experience at the Egyptian governmental museums.


Museums are the treasure-houses of the human race. They store the memories of the international communities, their cultures, their dreams and their hopes. As a mater of facts, museums is the ideal places where to integrate between its cultural and social roles. According to ICOM, museum is an institution at the services of society, and have to be aware of changes that occur in society and when appropriate, respond the new needs if society changes, museums have to consider whether they still fulfil their role or whether they have find better ways to serve society.

In addition, the ICOM code of ethics refers to the needs of community, it states that museum should work in close collaboration with the communities from which their collection originates as well as those serve, museums respect the interests and beliefs of communities and create the best context for community.

Now, museums seek to build a relationship with the communities and to use their expertise for the development of the relevant exhibitions. Understanding how community is constructed and the meanings which its members believe, it is necessary to consider how a sense of community forming their identity and creating a sense of place and the role sentiment emotion and nostalgia in the formation of the collected identities. Recent investigations of how groups of people have lost a sense of community revealing the complexity of the various sentiments associated with the term.

Providing the former perspective, the museum becomes a big house where the social and economic issues of the communities are presented and argued, and even discusses its problems. New types of museums have been introduced, attracting different types of demographical categories, including the museum that we will talk about.

Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships is a physical and virtual public space created with the sole purpose of treasuring and sharing the heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions. It is a museum about you, about us, about the ways we love and lose.

Museum believes

At its core, the museum is an ever-growing collection of items, each a moment of a relationship past, accompanied by a personal, yet anonymous story of its contributor. Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from grief and loss, the Museum offers the chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creativity – by contributing to its universal collection.

In 2010, museum won the EMYA Kenneth Hudson Award as the most innovative and daring museum project in Europe.

Museum Design

The designer used black and white colour on the exhibition halls and used a figure of man and woman to represent the relationship from beginning to ending.

Shared Breakups.

The museum let the people who have their own broken relationship stories to Share a break-up story and leave the message for them on the museum website (lock it away if you need to take your time, or simply pin a break-up on the global map of broken hearts. You are not alone). There are more than 629 stories available to read on the website.

Museum Collection

Museum Collection is a part of emotional history from the people, personal confession.

Exhibition Scenario

Museum Scenario is based on people’s personal life and personal confession. Exhibition labels contain the short brief of the stories.

Museum Gift Shop

The store contains many gifts that express the subjects discussed in the museum in a sarcastic way such as stress pencils, bad memory erasers, chocolates, Bookmark, etc

And other museums that discuss other societies through the introduction of different topics record successes or problems, but in the end do the real role of the museum in the service of society and keep abreast of developments in the world.


  • Ambrose, T., & Paine, C. (2006). Museum Basics (2nd ed.). London:Routledge.
  • Crooke, E. (2008). Museums and Community: Ideas, Issues and Challenges. Routledge.
  • Guo, J., & Wang, M. F. (Eds.). (2011). Museums for Social Harmony: Public Education and Museums. Jinan University Press.

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