Today we are visiting the Soho Factory district, located a bunch-of-minutes-car-ride distance from the city centre of Warsaw. Besides its position, the neighbourhood has gained a place on the cultural map of the city due to interesting design shops and nightlife places that are populating the area. Among them, situated in a red brick old factory building, the small but interesting Neon Muzeum is worth a visit.
Neon lights from the Cold War period
The museum, which is a private institution founded in 2005, has been dealing since then with “the documentation and the preservation of Cold War neon signs and electro-graphic design” that used to illuminate the streets of Warsaw. So far, the efforts of the founders has led to the publication of three books and catalogue and to the production of the documentary “Neon” by Eric Bednarski. Also, the museum space is stunning and marvelous, packed with neon lights and signes that are colouring the room in different nuances.
But, there is a (small) but.
What is really left after that museum experience? It seems to me that too much emphasis has been given to social media rather than history, contents, that are quite concise. One of the first things that immediately pops up on the museum hompage is its “Instagrammability“, also stressed by other visitors who commented their experience online. For example, one of them wrote: “For those who are looking for a perfect Instagram picture spot this place on a ‘must visit’ Warsaw list”.
And it’s partially ok, I am not saying that. Also my friends and I, when visiting the Neon Muzeum, had a lot of fun. But maybe in this rutilant itinerary the meaningful historical message gets a little bit lost. And it is a pity.
The Neon Muzeum in pills.
Neon lights and signs – details from the Neon Muzeum, Warsaw. Picture taken by me during my visit in November 2018