Note: This post is part of my “Museums Project“, a collection of 200+ high-concept ideas for museums.
One of the inspirations for this was The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia (there’s also a second museum in Los Angeles). There was something very captivating about the stories in the MoBR. I’ve never been to a museum and read more than 5% of the placards. But I read ALL of them in the MoBR.
I think the personal sharing and vulnerability and shared humanity exuded by the MoBR was what made it work well. Sure, there were objects associated with each writeup. But for me, they were more like chapter titles to the personal stories on the placard.
What sort of things come to mind for The Museum of Stuff Nobody Enjoys Talking About? Difficult conversations. Asking for a raise. Firing someone. The birds and the bees. Death. Regrets. Unspoken feelings. Delivering bad news. Asking for help. There might be infinite things we don’t like to talk about, depending on the person.
I think each piece in the museum needs to be from a person. It’s not about the concept of “firing someone”. It’s about hearing a specific personal story of firing someone. It’s about seeing another person struggling with (and not enjoying) the conversation.
The wish of the museum is that when you see that others don’t enjoy these conversations, it can soften you up to be able to have these conversations on your own. Some of the exhibits might even be more positive and act like models of how you might lessen the dread of talking about the stuff you don’t want to talk about.
The name of this museum might need some work, because I think once people are IN the conservation they often enjoy it. It’s the dread of conversations that no one enjoys. You might think “the museum of difficult conversations” would fit but I think that is too distant and doesn’t offer much emotional oomph. Using the word “nobody” puts us all together in the same boat and offers the comfort of “nobody enjoys this sh*t”.