byBridgett Raffenberg Here we are with another installment of “365 Things to do in Cincinnati” and today we are featuring The American Sign Museum.
You may remember our previous visit to The American Sign Museum. But what you may not realize is that the American Sign Museum has a new home. The expansion and move to a new spot has been a long time coming. You see, even as the old spot took shape the museum’s insightful and passionate founder Tod Swormstedt knew they would need more space. He started to look for a larger spot shortly after they opened their old location way back in 2005.
I have to say that I am REALLY surprised by how amazing this museum layout turned out. This place is completely different from the old museum, in both look and feel. The entire layout for the new building was started from scratch and designed specifically to accommodate the signs. The new spot features over 19,000 square feet of exhibit space (450% larger than the old location) and event space for hundreds of people. The ceilings are super high and are great for these huge signs. The museum is broken up into sections and the signs are grouped accordingly. As you walk in, the first section features fonts and typography. This turns into an area featuring the older neon signs. And for you porcelain sign enthusiasts, they have an entire wall of porcelain signage. I can only imagine that Frank and Mike would be thrilled to see this place! The real showstopper, in my opinion, is Main Street. This section was created to look like an old Main Street, complete with hanging signs, painted signs, painted windows and cobblestone streets. Hundreds of volunteers worked to paint the signage along Main Street. It truly is an amazing walk back in time. This is the perfect place to have an event. There’s a separate room (no pics yet as they were working on that room while I was there) for your event and it has a catering kitchen adjacent. The event space has a wall that is covered with actual barn planks which feature a very subtle “Mail Pouch” advertisement, making it amazing for pictures. The wall adjacent to the kitchen holds an original Cincinnati Pops sign, all in white and flashing. A third wall will feature Cincinnati signs. I can only imagine how gorgeous this room would be, lit only with the Pops signs and low lights. The museum’s main sign restorer, Neonworks, calls the new facilities home as well. Located in its own spot, Neonworks is a working neon shop. There’s a large plexiglass (?) window separating the museum and the neon shop so if you’re there while the shop staff is working you can watch as they repair signage.