Croatia’s Museum of Hangovers Is an Ode to Boozy Shenanigans

But critics have raised concerns that the museum makes light of alcohol abuse

Museum of Hangovers exterior
Co-founder Rino Dubokovic says his intention is not to glorify alcoholism, but to represent the experience of sharing light-hearted, boozy stories with friends. Photo by Denis Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images

It’s New Year’s Eve, and many of us can expect to wake up on the first morning (or afternoon) of 2020 feeling a bit worse for wear. But as you nurse your headache and don a pair of shades to keep out the light, perhaps you’ll take comfort in knowing that the stories of your boozy fumbling could be given pride-of-place at a new museum in Croatia—one devoted to jubilant nights out and their not-so-jubilant mornings-after.

As CBS News reports, the Museum of Hangovers, which recently opened in Zagreb, recreates a drunken journey home from the bar, with rooms designed to mimic graffiti-lined streets, mazes of storefronts, a garden, and, finally, a bedroom.

Inside, visitors can attempt to walk while wearing “beer goggles” that simulate drunkenness, and even try their hand at throwing darts; anyone who hits a bullseye gets to visit the museum for free. There are displays of odd objects that people discovered once their alcohol-fueled haze had lifted, according to Lilit Marcus of CNN Travel, and a chalkboard where visitors can complete the sentence “I woke up with …” Answers so far have included “2 stray dogs,” “A lot of pumpkins” and “One eye.”

The gift shop features alcohol-themed merchandise like the game “Drinkopoly.” Visitors can enjoy a taste of rakija, a fruity brandy popular in the Balkans. The museum is also on the hunt for additional tales of inebriated escapades; on its website, it asks people to submit their hangover stories for potential inclusion in the collection—“completely anonymously, of course.”

Museum of Hangovers
A view of the Museum of Hangovers in Zagreb, Croatia Photo by Denis Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images

This ode to drunken shenanigans was co-founded by Rino Dubokovic, a university student in Zagreb who came up with the idea for the museum while swapping hangover stories with friends.

“A friend spoke about how he woke up with a bicycle pedal in his pocket, and I thought, as I listened to him, ‘Why not set up a place, a museum, with the collection of these objects and stories that will illustrate in a funny way these evenings of drunkenness and the hangover the next day?” Dubokovic explains to CBS News.

Some have criticized the museum for making light of alcohol abuse—a serious problem that has been deemed “one of the biggest public health crises in the United States today” and causes three million deaths around the world each year, according to the World Health Organization.

“It's fine to drink in moderation, but that's not what this museum is about,” psychiatrist Gail Saltz tells CBS. “It makes it look appealing, it makes it look like it's fun and hilarious and for young people especially, that's going to be a big draw.”

Some of the museum’s features, like a drunk driving simulator, are sure to exacerbate such concerns. Still, Dubokovic tells Marcus of CNN that his intention is not to glorify alcoholism, but to represent the experience of sharing light-hearted, boozy stories with friends. He adds that the Museum of Hangovers is still a “test concept,” and he is looking to secure funding for a larger, permanent space.

“In the future,” says Dubokovic, “we want to make people aware of the bad things related to alcohol.”

For now, the museum’s website offers a crucial reminder for those seeking revelries tonight, or any other night: “Remember to drink responsibly!”

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