Looking for something fun to do with the family? Indoor museums are the perfect way to make some family memories and stay warm! Wouldn’t it be fun to stroll down a city street and see the neon signs from the 1950’s or take your picture in front of one of the earliest McDonald’s signs? Well if you are in Cincinnati, Ohio, visiting the American Sign Museum you can do all this and more! Recently, we took a quick road trip up to Cincinnati and toured the American Sign Museum. This place deserves to be on every traveler’s bucket list!
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American Sign Museum: Cincinnati OH
From the moment you pull into the parking lot of the American Sign Museum, you know you’re in for a fun treat!
There are some fun photo opps that you should definitely not rush past.
The American Sign Museum is dedicated to the art and history of signs and sign making. The museum is proud to be the largest public museum dedicated to signs in the United States! Covering more than 100 years of American sign history in 20,000 square feet of indoor space, the museum is a walk through the ages of sign technologies and designs. Some signs, still in their original shipping crates, remain pristine. Others proudly retain a weathered look.
A visit to the American Sign Museum will take you through the history and evolution of advertising and signs. When you first enter, you will see that advertising has changed since the 1900’s. Advertising may be associated now with bright lights and flashing digital screens, but in the early days, it was a bit closer related to shapes of familiar objects and hand painted signs.
Can you imagine the time it took to create these intricate gold leaf patterns in the glass and on the mirrors?
You can even walk through the workshop and see where the sign restoration process is happening!
Take your time as you go through the museum! Sure, you can see it in an hour, but why rush? We ended up walking through the first time with a high-level view. Then we meandered back through the museum several times as we each pointed out the details and signs that caught our eye on the first trip. It’s amazing how many things we saw when we walked back through!
Next time you see a Big Boy at a restaurant, study him! What color is his hair? his shoes? Is he plump or slim? what is in his back pocket? Did you know that you can tell alot about the age of this iconic character just by noticing these things!
Walk through the downtown street
One of the fun parts of the museum is the downtown city street with all the neon lights and signs from the mid 1900s. Talk about a walk down memory lane.
Or you could challenge your sister to an old-school game of arm wrestling… Who won this match? I’m sure the answer would vary based on who you ask!
This would be a fun place to sit in the little table and chairs that are provided and listen to your parents and grandparents talk about their memories of when these signs were common.
Things to Know:
- The museum is all one level and does not require a lot of walking. You could easily maneuver a wheelchair or stroller through the exhibits.
- There are chairs available throughout the museum that you can move to wherever you need to sit. This is a very accessible museum.
- The restrooms are very clean and well maintained. (Just like the sign says!)
- You may take a self guided tour or go with a guide. The guide has great history and background on the history of advertising and the specific pieces in the museum.
Find the American Sign Museum
1330 Monmouth Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45225
Have you been to the American Sign Museum? What is your favorite thing you would like to see?
Looking for more unique museums for your next road trip? Check out the International Spy Museum in Washington DC.