From art, to advertising and propaganda, we have used posters throughout history to convey important messages in bold and creative ways. Posters can evoke an entire era. Think of the iconic “Rose the Riveter” print which was used during the second world war and then dusted off to promote the feminist cause in the 1980s. This image is simple, yet instantly recognisable — symbolic of an entire era and a political movement. This is the power of the poster.
Like many of us, perhaps you grew up plastering posters of your favourite music bands or classic films around your room. Maybe you have an interest in the stories that historical posters tell. Or, it could be the bold graphic designs that intrigue you. Whatever it is, there are certain museums around the world specialising in poster printing that you’re going to love.
Carry on reading and browse through our five recommended museums for poster enthusiasts.
- Poster House, New York
Poster House is proud to call itself “the first museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to posters”. The museum was founded in 2015 but has only recently opened its doors to the public (20th June 2019). It aims to showcase posters from around the globe, marking important historical eras. Within its recent collections you can see posters from the 2017 Women’s March, hand-crafted movie posters from Ghana, and posters of the Japan Red Cross society. This unique and diverse collection aims to explore the “intersection of art and commerce” through showcasing beautiful artistry while commenting on each poster’s historical significance.
You can visit Poster House between 11am–6pm every day except Tuesday (when it is closed to the public). Adult tickets are $12 (£9.32)*, and it is free for members and under 18s.
- The London Transport Museum
If it’s transport posters you’re interested in, then the collection offered by the London Transport Museum will be right up your street. This impressive collection claims to “contain some of the best examples of posters as an art form anywhere in the world”. As you can imagine, the collection revolves around public transport and how posters have been used to promote transportation systems over the years. If you can’t visit this collection in person but are interested in what the London Transport Museum has to offer, you’re in luck! There are over 5,000 designs and 800 original artworks are available online.
The London Transport Museum is open every day from 10am–6pm. The adult ticket price is £18 (£16.50 online) and children under 17 go free.
- Muzeum Plakatu, Warsaw
Located in Wilanów palace (just outside Warsaw) is the ‘Muzeum Plakatu’, or, ‘Poster Museum’. Like New York’s Poster House, this museum focusses on the role of posters in cultural history. A recent exhibition for example, revolved around Cuban posters of the 1960s and 1970s, comparing and contrasting them to poster art in Poland and Czechoslovakia. This museum is also the home to the international Poster Biennale which sets out to celebrate the artistic value of graphic posters, rather than just viewing them as a tool for propaganda.
The Muzeum Plakatu is open Mondays 12:00–4pm, and Tuesdays–Sundays 10am–4pm. Check here for seasonal specific opening times. Entrance is free on Mondays and an adult ticket costs 12 PLN (£2.42) during the other weekdays.
- The Kupferstichkabinett Museum of Graphic Arts, Berlin
Berlin is home to one of the most notable print and drawing museums in the world: the Kupferstichkabinett. Focussing on all “art on paper” design, this museum doesn’t exclusively display posters, but it is a great day out for any graphic design enthusiasts. It boasts classic drawings by huge names including Botticelli, Van Gogh, Picasso and Warhol. The Kupferstichkabinett is the largest museum of graphic arts in Germany and is unmissable for any poster enthusiasts visiting the country.
This museum is open Tuesday to Friday 10am–6pm, and Saturday–Sunday 11am–6pm. Full entrance to all of the exhibitions is 16 EUR (£13.82).
- The Museum of Typography, Crete
This final museum is a poster lover’s dream, but for a slightly different reason. Rather than showcasing posters, or graphic art as such, this unusual museum in Crete specialises in typography. After years of collecting and curating artefacts related to typography, the museum was inaugurated in May 2005, under the authority of the newspaper ‘Haniotika Nea’. It has exhibited rich and intriguing collections through the years, such as ‘the History of Writing’ and the ‘Development of Typography and Graphic Arts’. Any poster enthusiast with a historical leaning will love this museum, as it gives visitors an insight into how typography has evolved and played its part in the creation of iconic posters throughout time.
The full ticket price to the Museum of Typography is 4 EUR (£3.46), and this price includes a guided tour. It is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Friday 12:30pm–3pm during the winter, and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday: 10am–3pm during the summer.
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*Prices correct as of 23rd October 2019.