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“I Grinned the Whole Time I Was Here”

American Sign Museum
Ranked #7 of 186 things to do in Cincinnati
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: We are home to a visual history of American Signage from 1870 through 1970. Hand carved wooden signs, gold leaf, electric light bulbs, and neon all grace our walls and tell amazing stories, especially when told by our founder and avid collector Tod. Take a trip down memory lane and visit us in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati!
Chesterland, Ohio
Level 6 Contributor
790 reviews
313 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 502 helpful votes
“I Grinned the Whole Time I Was Here”
Reviewed 9 May 2014

The American Sign Museum is a lot of fun. It's less than a mile off of I-75 in a semi-industrial neighborhood but that should come as no surprise as it is part sign shop and part museum. I new it would be great as I pulled into the parking lot: They have a huge bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (not KFC) a pig the size of a medium camper, and an old Holiday Inn sign with a welcoming message. A giant genie stands over the door.

The inside has a half-dozen large rooms with signs from the 1800's to roughly the 1960s. Many are clever. Several are extremely clever. A lot are in perfect or near perfect condition, and the neon blinks and glows beautifully.

This museum will appeal to several types of visitors. I like the history, the folk artistry, and distinctly American feel. Many will feel nostalgia. The signs are also displayed with a great deal of artistry.

You can tell that the creators of the museum both enjoy their topic and have a sense of humor. One plaque, for example, tracks the disappearance of the slingshot from the pocket of the "Big Boy" statues over time, coupled with a mint condition earlier version. I liked seeing the 15 cent price on the McDonald's sign.

You probably want to check their website or call ahead. They generally give tours around 11. They didn't have one the day I was there, but it would have been great to hear a little bit more about the history and technology behind the signs. They also have a working sign shop with periodic demonstrations about bending and making neon tubes.

If you like this sort of thing, try to visit the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, which is also excellent. The museum in Las Vegas is outdoors and has signs from Las Vegas casinos and businesses. This one has more signs you would see across the country (e.g. McDonald's, Howard Johnson's, etc.), and is less geographically specific. It also has a larger number of working signs, but, again, both museums are extremely worthwhile.

This place made me happy. It will you too.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank ElaineAndGreg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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519 reviews from our community

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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Awesome Museum!”
Reviewed 6 May 2014

This was such an awesome museum! Very original and has a really cool story behind it. While it's not very big and doesn't take much time to go through, I still think it's worthwhile checking out. Don't be alarmed when you're driving to it; it literally is in a weird neighborhood and suddenly appears out of nowhere.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Rachel C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level 6 Contributor
141 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Unique Experience”
Reviewed 2 May 2014

Off the beaten track but not far off I-75 lies a little gem of an attraction. Large signage you grew up seeing along the highways with a very educational twist. Eclectic museum that would be more suited in Portland, OR than Cincinnati, OH.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Patrick K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Interestingly curated house of neon”
Reviewed 17 April 2014

This is a small museum but loaded with all sorts of neon signs, old and new. There are tours which explain the history of neon and how it's grown and changed over the years. One part is laid out like a small town with storefronts, window displays, and of course, neon.

Visited April 2014
2 Thank sudiepav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pensacola, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
109 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“A unique museum”
Reviewed 15 April 2014

It you have an interest in the history and style of signs thru the years than this place is for you. Make sure you take the free tour, it's very informative.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank BAppelt1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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