As It Happens

The Museum of Hangovers highlights hazy memories and skull-splitting headaches

Rino Dubokovic was well on his way to nursing a hangover when he first had the idea to open a museum dedicated to the self-inflicted ailment.

Croatia attraction collects drinking stories, and the strange items that turn up after a booze-filled night

Two women walk past the Museum of Hangovers in Zagreb, Croatia. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP/Getty Images)

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Rino Dubokovic was well on his way to nursing a hangover when he first had the idea to open a museum dedicated to the self-inflicted ailment.

"I was with my friends drinking and we started to talk about these kind of stories, drunk stories or hangover stories, and my friend was telling his story about how he woke up with his bicycle pedal in his pocket," Dubokovic told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann. 

"Then I got the idea that there should be some place, like a collection or a museum, of all those items and the stories behind them."

The Museum of Hangovers opened Zagreb, Croatia, on Dec. 1, 2019.

One of the rooms at the Museum of Hangovers in Croatia. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images)

The exhibits include a collection of items that showed up inexplicably the mornings after booze-filled nights — including Dubokovic's friend's bicycle pedal, a broken guitar and an actual police report. 

Then there's the detritus left behind after an evening of drunken revelry, like knocked-over liquor bottles, empty pizza boxes and an ashtray filled with cigarette butts.

Bottles, glasses and an ashtray on display at the Museum of Hangovers. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images)

Some elements of the museum are interactive. There's a room where people can share and record their own best morning-after stories. 

"We have, like, stories that are connected with animals," Dubokovic said. "Some Australians woke up with a penguin in the morning and they they didn't know about how they got it. So, yeah that's that's my favourite story."

When people first enter the museum, they're invited to try on "drunk goggles," which simulate the experience of being tipsy. If they hit a bull's-eye with a dart while wearing the goggles, they get in for free. 

A woman plays darts with special glasses simulating heavy drunkenness at the entry of the museum. A good throw means free entry. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP/Getty Images)

While the museum started as something of a joke, New York psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz doesn't think it's very funny.

She told CBS News the Museum of Hangovers glorifies excessive drinking and alcoholism.

"It's fine to drink in moderation, but that's not what this museum is about," she said.

"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." 

According to Statistics Canada, 19 per cent of Canadians describe themselves as heavy drinkers. A 2018 report by Canada's chief public health officer found that between 2001 to 2017, the alcohol-attributed death rate increased by 26 per cent for women, and five per cent for men.

The World Health Organization estimates three million people die each year due to alcohol abuse.

This is an issue Dubokovic says he's very aware of.

"When I got the idea at first, it was like a fun thing," he said. "When I was thinking more about it, I know that it could be, like, popularizing alcoholism in some kind of way."

He says he's been working to add facts and information about the dangers of alcoholism to the exhibits, and collecting testimonials from recovering alcoholics for "their story, their journey of recovery, to be put in the museum."

Rino Dubokovic is the founder of the museum. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP/Getty Images)

Dubokovic said he was nursing a light hangover when spoke to As It Happens on New Year's Day, "but without the headache or anything — so it's good."

When it comes to hangover care, his advice is simple: "I drink water and sleep and that's it."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview with Rino Dubokovic produced by Samantha Lui. 


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