In Cincinnati, Ohio, there is a special museum called the American Sign Museum that is devoted to preserving the background of American signs and sign-making. The museum occupies an area of more than 20,000 square feet, both indoors and outdoors, and is packed with a variety of early American advertising artifacts, including neon signs, signs, and neon lights.
Tod Swormstedt, a former editor of the business journal Signs of the Times, founded the museum. Swormstedt has been collecting signs since he was a young boy, and when he discovered there was no one location devoted to the preservation of these significant relics of American history, the idea for the museum was born.
The museum’s collection of signs features advertisements from across the nation, from tiny mom-and-pop store signs to massive neon advertisements from well-known companies like McDonald’s and Burger King. The museum’s exhibits, which are arranged chronologically to show how American signs have changed over time, can be toured independently by visitors.
The museum’s collection of neon signs is one of its highlights. The museum has a sizable collection of neon signs from the early years of American advertising, which first gained popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. Neon signs promoting everything from hotels and restaurants to car dealerships and movie theaters can be seen by visitors.
The working sign shop, which is housed inside the museum, is another distinctive feature of the American Sign Museum. The creation of new signs by skilled artisans using conventional sign-making methods can be observed by visitors. For those who are interested in learning more about the craft of sign-making, the shop also offers classes and workshops.
The museum hosts special events and temporary exhibitions all year long in addition to its permanent displays. Events in the past have included sign-making classes, speakers, and even a classic car show with vintage vehicles sporting period-appropriate signs.
But the American Sign Museum is more than just a place to relive your youth. For those who are interested in the background of American advertising and design, it is also a valuable resource. Numerous thousands of images, sketches, and other documents pertaining to the development of signs in America can be found in the museum’s archives.
Cincinnati’s history as a hub for sign-making and design makes the city an important location choice for the museum. Cincinnati was known for its cutting-edge designs and methods in the early 20th century and was home to some of the biggest sign companies in the nation.
The American Sign Museum, in general, is an intriguing and distinctive museum that gives visitors a look into the background of American signs and sign-making. The museum is well worth a visit, whether you’re a fan of design, a history nerd, or just someone who appreciates the craftsmanship of vintage signs.