The ‘Huis Van Alijn’ is a small history museum in Ghent – Belgium, housed in a series of 16th century small cottages in the center of the city. Its displays show the everyday life of people at home and at work during the first part of the 20th century. According to their website this included a print shop but when I visited the museum that section had been moved to another museum. Fortunately there were many posters and other examples of graphic design to keep me interested. Below are some of the pieces that caught my eye.
Keeping pigeons is still a popular sport in Belgium. This very colorful poster from 1936 shows drawings from a number of other sports but is really about a pigeon race, in which participants could win pigs, chickens, rabbits, furniture and kitchen utensils.
The next poster has less color in it, but that matches its theme nicely. Apparently there was a market for the luxurious transport of corpses in those days! Notice the telephone number from the garage, which has only 4 digits in it.
Not every poster in the museum is printed by a press. For smaller jobs hand painted posters were used, such as this rather funny advertisement for Columbia lamp oil.
The picture below doesn’t really do justice to the subtle tints in the packaging for a large bar of soap.
I was pretty surprised to find a huge poster from the 30’s which was printed as a series of tiles. The fit wasn’t perfect but it is still amazing what could be achieved in those days. Below is a small detail from that poster that promoted a bicycle race.
The last picture was taken in the music room. Popular instruments are displayed next to posters for the kermesses (festivals) where the brass bands could show off their skills.
If you like such photographs check out the pages with pictures of printing museums.