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 an integral part of the polish architecture after the Second World War. Those signs were designed by famous artists, architects, and graphic designers and are a unique part of Poland’s recent past.
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 the early 1900s. By the ’30s, 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 a jute factory, later as an ammunition factory, then as a motorcycle and scooter factory and, during the last years, it was just an abandoned place.
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 more things to do in Warsaw, this might museum might be it.
NEON MUSEUM WARSAW
Mińska 25, Warszawa, Poland