Visit the American Sign Museum

Visit the Largest Public Sign Museum in America

Bring your family, your friends, or your group for a fun and educational experience. The American Sign Museum is 20,000 square feet of more than a century of American signage.  From early, pre-electric signs adorned in goldleaf, to the earliest electric signs, to beautiful art-deco neon, to the modern plastic-faced sign, the museum covers it all.  Expect to spend at least an hour exploring the history of this always-seen, but virtually unnoticed, industry.  Optimize your American Sign Museum experience by taking one of our guided tours.  A knowledgeable guide will regale you with the stories behind the signs, and answer any and all questions. Stroll down your personal memory lane!

Welcome to the American Sign MuseumOUR STORY

The American Sign Museum promotes sign preservation and restoration by displaying nearly 100 years of signage. We preserve and protect American history and pay homage to the artistry and craftsmanship of days gone by. Our collection honors an often overlooked part of our culture that hides in plain sight as part of our daily lives. 

OUR MISSION

To celebrate the rich history of American signage through preservation and education.

OUR VISION

The American Sign Museum is the premier institution for preserving historic signs and promoting the contributions the sign industry makes to commerce, culture, and the American landscape. 

McDonalds SignOUR HISTORY

Tod Swormstedt spent 26 years on the staff of Signs of the Times magazine, and he became the fourth-generation editor of the "bible of the sign industry," which was founded in 1906. He parlayed all of his knowledge and contacts into a self-proclaimed “mid-life crisis project.” Here was Tod's chance to preserve the 3-D craftsmanship of multi-generational sign companies, to tell their stories and bring these signs to life before they were lost forever. 

Thus, in 1999, he founded the National Signs of the Times Museum. With accelerating support, the museum was renamed and re-opened as the American Sign Museum in May 2005. Its temporary home within an arts center sufficed for several years, but growing pains ensued. The magnificent McDonald's and Holiday Inn signs couldn't be displayed to their full heights.

Tod began searching for a more permanent home for the ever-growing collection. He needed to fulfill his vision for an interactive museum experience.  He found ASM's new home in Camp Washington, an appropriately historic area of Cincinnati. The century-old Oesterlein Machine Company-Fashion Frocks, Inc. Complex became ASM's new home. Its doors opened in June 2012.

ASM's expansion has continued unabated. New acquisitions arrive weekly, and the 20,000 square feet of museum space quickly filled. In October 2016, the roof in the annex of the building was replaced, which allows for a future doubling of the museum's size.

HOURS

Wednesday - Saturday - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Sunday - 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Monday - Tuesday - Closed

Closed Holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day

ADMISSION

$15 Adults
$10 Seniors (65+), Students, Military

Three Children 12 and under are Free with each paying Adult  

More Neon SignsGUIDED TOURS

Optimize your museum experience through a guided tour.  These walking tours encompass 100 years of sign history, from the late 1800’s up through the 1970’s.   A knowledgeable tour guide will disclose the stories behind the signs, explain why different materials and processes were used, and answer any questions.  

Tours are open and available to anyone.  No reservations are needed, although advance tickets are available.  If you arrive late, you are more than welcome to join groups for the remainder of the tour. 

On weekdays, the tours often include a visit to the onsite neon shop, NeonWorks of Cincinnati, for a demonstration of how neon signs are made.  Tours last approximately an hour.

GUIDED TOUR SCHEDULE

Wednesday - Saturday | 11:00 am and 2:00 pm

Sunday | 2:00 pm
 

ACCESSIBILITY

The museum is accessible for those with limited mobility. The entire collection resides on one flat floor, that's easily navigable. The museum does not have wheelchairs or motorized carts available; however, guests are encouraged to bring their own. Chairs throughout the museum allow visitors to bask and enjoy the view. Guests who may have difficulty with blinking or flashing lights will need to use discretion.  

Signs at the American Sign MuseumDIRECTIONS

To access the museum from north of Cincinnati, take I-75 South to exit 3, Hopple Street.  Turn right at the exit.  Then turn right onto Colerain Avenue. Then take a left on Monmouth Avenue.  The museum’s parking lot is at the first entrance on the right, through the black gate.

To access the museum from south of Cincinnati, take I-75 North to exit 3, Hopple Street. Turn left at the exit. Then turn right onto Colerain Avenue. Then take a left on Monmouth Avenue.  The museum’s parking lot is at the first entrance on the right, through the black gate.

To access the museum from downtown Cincinnati, take Central Parkway north.  Turn left at Monmouth Avenue. Continue onto Monmouth, through Colerain Avenue.  The museum’s parking lot is at the first entrance on the right, through the black gate.

PARKING

The museum has its own parking lot, free of charge. Handicap parking can be found along the side of the building. Parking is also available on Monmouth Avenue. For buses and motor coaches, we encourage parking on Monmouth Avenue, without blocking the entrance to NeonWorks of Cincinnati. 
 

PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEOTAPING AND COPYING WORKS IN THE MUSEUM

We encourage visitors to capture and share photography for personal, noncommercial use. Only handheld cameras with attached standard flash equipment are allowed. No auxiliary flash, lighting equipment, tripods, or selfie sticks are permitted. Please be respectful of other visitors while taking photographs.

However, external equipment, such as external flashes, tripods, or other non-handheld items, are prohibited. This ensures other guests can enjoy their visit. If you have any related questions, please contact the museum at 513-541-6366.
 

Kips Big Boy SignPHOTO SHOOTS

For noncommercial end use if you want to bring extra equipment to the museum for photography, you may schedule a photo shoot. These are offered when the museum is closed to the public.  Photo-shoot rentals are $150 for the first hour, and then $50 for each subsequent hour.  Photo shoots can't be extended while they're occurring, so book as much time as you’ll need.  For photo-shoot bookings, please contact the Guest Services Manager, Kevin Wallace at 513-701-2186 or kwallace@americansignmuseum.org.

PRIVATE TOURS

Private tours of the museum are available, typically before or after the museum’s normal hours, or on Monday and Tuesday when the Museum is closed to the public. A private tour can be exclusive to your group, with a minimum of 10 people.  Private tours typically last an hour. For more information, please contact the guest services manager, Kevin Wallace, at 513-701-2186 or kwallace@americansignmuseum.org

 

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26 Sep 2017