American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

A few months ago, the American Sign Museum finally opened the doors to its new, larger location at 1330 Monmouth St. in Cincinnati’s Camp Washington neighborhood. The new space permits the display of larger signs that were previously in storage, and there is now more room to showcase the timeline of technical and aesthetic advances in commercial signage.

The museum is somewhat hidden behind Machine Flats but, as soon as you see this guy who greeted visitors at the old location, you know you’re in the right place:

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

Much of the collection was displayed in the previous space, like the old Big Boy figurine who sports red hair and a slingshot in his back pocket:

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

With the additional space, the displays are better spaced out and sequenced, in a timeline format from gold leaf and painted to pre-neon electric and the plethora of neon signs:

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

The highlight of the new space is the new Main St. display, which consists of a block of storefronts featuring vintage signs augmented by custom hand-painted signage where appropriate. The middle of the street is occupied by large neon signs that were not on display before, flanked by storefronts such as Rohs Hardware, which used to be on Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine. The Sign Museum was able to acquire not just the neon sign but the entire storefront, along with the actual battered front door:

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

The old location was incredible, but this new space is even better! The American Sign Museum is a definite must-see in Cincinnati, even if you’re not a graphic designer or lover of old signs. I recommend taking the guided tour and allowing at least 1 1/2 hours for your visit.

When you’re done checking out the museum, head on over to adjacent Neonworks to watch the crafting of neon signs in real time.

16 thoughts on “American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

  1. It’s pretty well hidden. You can’t see anything when you’re on Colerain. Once you get onto Monmouth, you’ll see a driveway with old signs and, as you get closer to the front door, the sign for the museum becomes visible. The entrance can’t really be seen from the street. Anyway, you’ll most certainly enjoy it!

  2. Thanks for sharing our existence and whereabouts with your readers. We like to think our ‘hidden’ status demonstrates by example the importance and value of good signage! In truth, we’re working on it…

  3. Anyone who can come to Cincinnati for a few days, either as a trip or as a stop on the way to somewhere else, should most definitely check this place out.

    Barbara, I’m sure the new location is still a bit of a work in progress, but it’s amazing and an improvement over the old location, which was very cool. The signage could be more obvious, but I’m certain that’s in the works.

  4. “We like to think our ‘hidden’ status demonstrates by example the importance and value of good signage! In truth, we’re working on it…”
    LOL
    Well, I do remember the Rancho Motel…
    I need to get down there.

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  6. Route 66, we totally agree. We see the museum as a place for signs to retire, but it’s always best if a sign can stay right where it was intended to be, and if not, within the local community. We’re the last option before the scrap yard!

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