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array of electric and neon signs at the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati Ohio

American Sign Museum Lights Up Ohio

Light up your life with a visit to this electric attraction.

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

American Sign Museum Lights Up Ohio

By Heather Rader

Posted On: Aug 15, 2022

The American Sign Museum in Cincinnati is one of the most unique museums in the state! It's the largest public museum dedicated to signs in the United States and covers more than 100 years of sign history. If you're interested in learning about American history or just want to see some cool signs, the American Sign Museum is worth a visit!

Dedicated to the art and history of commercial signs and sign making, the museum takes visitors on a tour that's a feast for the eyes. With unique shapes, vibrant colors, flashing lights and animation, be prepared for a visual experience that walks you down memory lane!

Big Boy statue sign inside the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati Ohio

A self-guided tour showcases the evolution of American signage from pre-electric wood and metal signs to early electric signs with light bulbs and neon tubes. You'll start with a timeline of the history of the sign industry which exhibits the evolution of the three-dimensional letter with samples from 1900 to 1970.

Early Sign Collection of neon and electric signs inside the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati Ohio

Next, you'll move into the electric sign exhibit from pre-neon to the light bulb era to neon’s vibrant heyday of the 1930's-1940's, then into the modern plastic era of the 1950's and later.

Neons signs inside the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati Ohio

One of the most popular spots in the museum is the Signs on Main Street display. This unique streetscape recreates a typical "Main Street USA," with shop windows and life-size storefronts, and is home to some of the largest signs in the museum.

Signs on Main Street display inside the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati Ohio

While the giant colorful signs are the main attraction in this display, be sure to take the time to investigate each storefront for sign-related objects and novelties.

Located within the 20,000 square feet museum is Neonworks of Cincinnati. As the region's only full-time neon sign shop, the skilled craftsmen create and repair neon signs. Wednesday through Friday, visitors can watch the tube-benders working their craft making signs and possibly get the chance to interact with them.

In addition to the wide variety of sign mediums on display, the museum also offers educational programs and tours. Guided tours are provided on Saturdays and Sundays and virtual tours are available with an array of tour themes. Free, fun educational scavenger hunts for children can be found online to download prior to your visit or enjoy downloadable educational at home activities.

For those visiting the museum, a free self-guided audio tour is available to use on your smart phone. I would suggest planning at least an hour for a self-guided tour. The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday and admission is $15 for adults, $10 for Seniors and Military/First Responders, $10 for children ages 13-18 and children under 12 are free with paid adult admission.

Cassano Pizza  electric neon sign inside the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati Ohio

The American Sign Museum is not only a fun look at American signage, it's also a unique history lesson showcasing the literal evolving sign of the times in American history.

Looking for a visually stunning, only-in-Ohio experience? Here's your sign to visit the American Sign Museum, one of Ohio's most unique museums!  

For more museums and arts & culture, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org

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