Warsaw’s Neon Muzeum

24 June, 2014

I recently visited Warsaw for two reasons: the TypoPolo exhibition, and this museum. And I have to say, the Neon Muzeum was totally worth the entire trip.

In many ways, this museum is similar to Berlin’s Buchstabenmuseum which also focuses on neon signs and lettering. And it’s difficult to explain, but this museum has a totally different feel. Only opened for a few years, this privately funded museum has managed to collect and preserve much of Warsaw, and Poland’s, rapidly disappearing neon signage.

I was lucky to meet and have a long chat & tour with co-founder David Hill. He shared many interesting stories and background to the museum and Poland’s neon culture. One particularly interesting story was the unfortunate, ironic side-effect that the museum has had in Poland. In recent years these antiquated signs have been taken down and simply thrown out as junk or sold for scrap metal. But in part thanks to the museum’s interest in these as artifacts, the scrap signs now have a newly perceived value – so often times instead of preserving the signs and/or donating them to a good cause like this museum, the owners would rather hawk the old letters on ebay.

The museum not only host events, parties, publishes books, preserves a dying art, and educates, but they are also working to bring fresh new neon into the world. Just days after I was in town, there was the grand unveiling of a new neon sign made for a bridge in the middle of Warsaw! There’s another attraction to add to your map of “Warsaw’s Neon Signs Walking Tour”.

I’ve posted tons of photos here… Honestly it was difficult to narrow the collection down to these few (this isn’t even half of what I shot). If you can make it to Warsaw you absolutely should go find the museum and give it an hour or two. There’s so much more to see, and photos can’t convey the same experience as standing up close to the glass, metal, and electricity.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★




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2 Responses to “Warsaw’s Neon Muzeum”

  • Respect to you for making the trip! They have two BERLIN signs, with and without neon?

  • Rob

    Thanks Stephen :) You should check out Warsaw sometime… It’s quite easy and inexpensive to get there by train.

    I didn’t inquire about or closely examine the yellow BERLIN sign in the lobby area. I imagine it’s a duplicate/reproduction of the original (yet restored) lit version. That happened to be the first sign which kicked off the collection.