The American Sign Museum – A Hidden Gem in Cincinnati!

January 19, 2022
Author : Laura Williams
Photo by Janne Simoes on Unsplash

The American Sign Museum, located in the Camp Washington area on Cincinnati’s west side, is one of the city’s most unusual attractions.

With almost 20,000 square feet of American signage, the museum is the biggest public museum dedicated to signs in the United States.

The museum features a huge collection of signs dating back to the early 1900s, ranging from early electric signs through plastic-faced signs to modern neon signs.

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio

The American Sign Museum caters to all types of audiences and offers a unique museum experience that you’re likely to enjoy. Whether you want to learn about the history of signage in the United States or want to have a good time with your friends and family, this is the place to go.

The American Sign Museum – Long and Successful History

Tod Swormstedt founded the museum in 1999 as a “mid-life crisis project,” according to him. The museum was initially known as the National Signs of the Times Museum, but it was renamed and reopened as the American Sign Museum in 2005 after receiving support and expansion.

The museum was first housed in an arts center. Still, as the collection grew and Tod bought larger signs, it was eventually relocated to its current location in Camp Washington, which boasted 28-foot-high ceilings to accommodate the larger signs.

The museum reopened its doors to the public in 2012.

The museum now occupies over 20,000 square feet of space, and new signs are added to the collection every year. “Celebrate the rich history of American signs through preservation and education,” Tod and the museum continue to be proud of their purpose.

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The American Sign Museum is a fascinating place to see

When you first go into the museum, you’ll discover a tiny gift store selling a range of Cincinnati-themed items such as posters, books, postcards, and vintage toys. After a short distance, you’ll reach the main desk, where you can pick up your tickets.

When you walk into the main display area, you’ll be greeted by a diverse collection of signage, including ancient gas station signs, drug shop signs, road markers, and more.

Neon signs at the American Sign Museum

Almost all of the signs have little tables in front of them that describe their history, including what they were used for in the past and how the museum came to own them.

The American Sign Museum has a neon beer sign.

You could easily spend more than an hour exploring the museum if you take the time to learn about the history of each sign.

The American Sign Museum has an ancient neon sign for McDonald’s Hamburger.

The museum also has an operating neon shop where Tod, the founder, and other employees can be found repairing ancient signs that need a little TLC.

Don’t be shocked if Tod himself strikes up a chat with you about some of the signage histories if you come in and browse about this retail area. He is enthusiastic about his job and ready to share it with others.

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The American Sign Museum is a worth visiting place

The American Sign Museum is open during the following hours at 1330 Monmouth Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 10 am– 4 pm

Thursday: 10 am– 4 pm

Friday: 10am– 4pm

Saturday: 10am – 4pm

Sunday:12 Pm – 4 pm

The museum’s admission fees are as follows:

Seniors: 10 dollars

Adults: 15 dollars

Students: 10 dollars

Military: 10 dollars

Children under the age of 12 are admitted free.

There is also lots of free parking on the premises.

Note: You can get two free museum tickets if you have a Cincinnati Library card and use the Online Reservation System to reserve tickets for certain days.

On the museum’s website, you may find additional information, including contact information and unique future events.

If you are seeking more intriguing museums to visit in Queen City, see our list of the 16 greatest museums in the area.

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