Be dazzled by the Neon Museum in Warsaw – An Artful Display of Cold War Artifacts
Praga is the place to be in Warsaw. This once dilapidated district is now a haven of reclaimed industrial sites, art studios, restaurants, and cultural events. One of the main draws to this vibrant part of town is the Neon Museum Warsaw. Located in a former munitions factory, it dazzles visitors with hundreds of communist-era neon signs. The proprietors have meticulously assembled this one-of-a-kind collection – and it shows. As you explore this world of neon glory, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the fascinating history of this former Soviet state.
Neon Dreams Come to Life
The quirky Neon Museum opened its doors to the public in 2005. Since then, it has amassed the largest collection of neon signs in Europe. While in the West we primarily recognize neon signage from commercial advertising, Warsaw’s glowing neon tubes were often used as state propaganda. After the Second World War, much of Warsaw still lay in darkness with many buildings in ruins. In an effort to beautify the area and lighten the Varsovian’s spirits, neon signs sprung up in the city.
The museum is a treasure
trove of unique relics, some of them the last surviving neon signs from the
“neonization” campaign in post-war Poland. Preserving these cultural artifacts
is a top priority for the museum and the collective behind it. The permanent
collection features hundreds of electrifying signs and artifacts. Many of the
contributing artists actively supported the Polish Poster School; from the 1950s
to the 1980s these artists perfected combining simple poster images with clever
slogans and metaphors. One of the most prominent artists of the Polish Poster
School was Jan LenicaI who once revealed:
“I have always liked to move at the periphery of art, at the crossing of genres, combining elements which were seemingly distant, if not quite foreign, blurring the borders between adjacent areas.”
From Industrial Wasteland to Culture Hub
Throughout Poland industrial spaces continue to be repurposed and reinvigorated by a generation of young and dynamic creatives. Warsaw is no different, and one such space is Soho Factory, the epitome of post-industrial chic. This sprawling complex was once home to the Pocisk Munitions Factory and Warsaw Motorcycle Factory. Today it has been completely reclaimed, taking new inspiration and its name from Soho in the Big Apple.
At Soho Factory, you can discover a microcosm of art studios, hidden designer boutiques, world-class eateries, and organic markets – and if you’re lucky, a few cultural events too. One of the city's best restaurants Mateusz Gessler’s Warszawa Wschodnia. Here you can enjoy a traditional Polish dishes infused with a nouvelle-cuisine Française twist.
Ready to be dazzled by the bright lights and bold ideas of the Neon Museum? Or have you already had an enlightening experience in Warsaw? What are your top tips for exploring soviet history in Poland in a more artistic way? Let us know.