When we started planning our trip to Warsaw, one of the places I was looking forward to visit was the Neon Museum. Located in the creative heard of polish capital, this museum is a must see for designers and typographers as well as those who are interested in the Cold War in Poland and how life changed throughout the years there. If you like any of those topics, you will love this Warsaw attraction as much as we did.

The Neon Muzeum, with a Z, is a museum dedicated to the preservation and documentation of Poland’s cold war era neon signs and they do this really well. As you walk the hallways of this small museum, you will see a lot of neon signs and learn a lot about where they were, how they were used and how did they manage to get to the Neon Museum.

Everything started back in 2005 when David Hill and Ilona Karwinska decided to do a photographic documentation project called Polish Neon. It was also there that they started with the renovation and preservation of the remaining cold war neon signs around Warsaw. Since then, the museum’s collection has grown in size and nowadays it displays hundreds of different signs. Some even say that they have the largest collection of neon signs anywhere in Europe and we have to agree with that.

Let me tell you a little of the history behind the Neon Museum

Everything started back in 2005 when David Hill and Ilona Karwinska decided to do a photographic documentation project called Polish Neon. It was also there that they started with the renovation and preservation of the remaining cold war neon signs around Warsaw. Since then, the museum’s collection has grown in size and nowadays it displays hundreds of different signs. Some even say that they have the largest collection of neon signs anywhere in Europe and we have to agree with that.

But why did Poland had so many neon signs?

In socialist Poland, neon signs didn’t have the same functionality as the ones you would see in capitalist cities like New York and Hong Kong. In these cities, neon signs were used to advertise a product or a service but in Poland it wasn’t like that. Since the country didn’t have a free market, the neon signs were used to provide information and for prestige.

Neon signs were designed and used as a integral part of the polish architecture after the Second World War. Those signs were designed by famous artists, architects and graphic designers and are an unique part of Poland’s recent past.

The Neon Muzeum, with a Z, is a museum dedicated to the preservation and documentation of Poland’s cold war era neon signs and they do this really well. As you walk the hallways of this small museum, you will see a lot of neon signs and learn a lot about where they were, how they were used and how did they manage to get to the Neon Museum.

A Short History of Neon

Neon gas was discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay, a Scottish scientist, who named it after the Greek word neos. But the use of neon in signage was pioneered by Georges Claude in Paris in early 1900’s. By the 30’s, neon was everywhere and most of them came from Georges Claude.

The Neon Museum is located in the creative heart of Warsaw, in the neighborhood known as Praga. It is located at the Soho Factory, a post industrial mix of galleries, designer shops and restaurants. The building which houses the museum dates from the early 20th century and has a cool history as well. It first served as jute factory, later as an ammunition factory, then as a motorcycle and scooter factory and, during the last years, it was just abandoned place.

The Neon Museum is located in the creative heart of Warsaw, in the neighborhood known as Praga. It is located at the Soho Factory, a post industrial mix of galleries, designer shops and restaurants. The building which houses the museum dates from the early 20th century and has a cool history as well. It first served as jute factory, later as an ammunition factory, then as a motorcycle and scooter factory and, during the last years, it was just abandoned place.

Neon Muzeum

The Neon Museum is open from 12:00 to 17:00 every day of the week, except Monday and Tuesday. The price of admission is 10 zł, something a little less than 3€.

Arriving at the museum might seem a little complicated but it isn’t. Take Tram 22 or 26 from the city center and you will arrive there without any issue. Leave the tram at Bliska Stop and you will be close enough to walk the other 3 blocks there. If you are looking for what to do in Warsaw, this might be it.

Neon Museum Warsaw

www.neonmuzeum.org

Mińska 25, Warszawa, Poland


If you liked the pictures you saw here from the Neon Museum, you should take a look at the Typopassage in Vienna and the Museum of Letters in Berlin.


Comments

comments