Personal Lives

Quinn Emanuel leader launches Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles

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The Quinn Emanuel law firm has been described as “caffeinated, aggressive and brash,” but its leader has a softer side.

Quinn Emanuel founder and leader John Quinn has created a new Los Angeles tourist attraction, the Museum of Broken Relationships, report the American Lawyer’s Careerist blog and the Observer. Located in space once occupied by Frederick’s of Hollywood, the museum opened on June 4.

Quinn got the idea after visiting the first Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, Forbes reports. The original museum had many exhibits that were tied to wars in the former Yugoslavia.

On display in the Los Angeles museum are “artifacts of doomed unions and failed romances,” the Observer article reports. There is an empty tube of toothpaste, a collection of cologne bottles, and a wedding dress in a pickle jar. Next to the items are the stories of the anonymous person who donated them.

The wedding dress is a nontraditional silk dress that could also be worn elsewhere. The woman who donated it explains that her husband told her after five years of marriage that he probably didn’t love her any more.

“He’s been gone a year and I haven’t really known what to do with the dress,” she explains. “Every option has felt wrong. I hate throwing perfectly functional items in landfills but would hate to see someone walking around in my once beautiful but now sadness infused dress. I don’t particularly enjoy looking at it either. So I have crammed it in this old dill pickle jar. Mostly for space reasons but any sort of appropriate pickle metaphors can be invoked.”

Quinn tells the Careerist the museum is a serious endeavor, despite its location in the old Frederick’s of Hollywood. “I don’t regard myself as a romantic, but I’m interested in relationships,” he says. “Litigation is all about broken relationship—usually people go into a business relationship thinking that it would last, but then something goes terribly wrong.”

The point of the museum, he says, is that people have gone on with their lives despite lost relationships. “We don’t want people to leave with a downer,” Quinn tells the Careerist. “We tried to plan a journey where people tell their experiences and come out at the other end. There’s an inherently positive message: Certain relationships don’t work out. People suffer and feel alone. But you learn that everyone experiences that at some point. So the takeaway can be positive and cathartic.”

Quinn didn’t donate anything to the museum himself. “I’m a happily married man,” he says.

Ticket prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors.

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