Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

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The sign doesn’t say you’ve got to have a membership card to get inside, but if you have a hankering for all things Americana, the American Sign Museum is just the ticket.

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Welcome to “Signtown”

Located in Cincinnati, Ohio the American Sign Museum has a collection of over 3000 signs and billboards from all over the last century. Hand-painted, gold leaf signs from before the advent of electricity all the way to the neon flashing variety of the last fifty years.

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I remember the ubiquitous Holiday Inn sign from when I was a child. We almost never stayed in one though. We were more of a “Motel 6” family.
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If you are looking for the museum you won’t have any trouble finding it. There are plenty of signs. 

President Calvin Coolidge said “The business of America is Business” and to survive in the competitive capitalistic world, a business needed a way to stand out. Signs when they were well made, caught a person’s eyes and got their attention. The became especially important once the automobile came into prominence. Now a business had to lure a customer off the highway. A creative, humorous or uniquely presented sign became invaluable. This museum celebrates some of the best in this class.

 

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What’s even better than well-made sign is a company mascot. “Big Boy” Hamburgers were quite popular all the way to the early ’80s. 
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Even before neon, signs were an important way of building a brand. Color, font, even logos were part of business signs from almost the start of the country. 
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This is a billboard from the early 1920s
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Most of the neon collection is in an area called “Signtown”

Many of the signs belong to businesses that are now defunct. But I remembered many of them from my younger days. Like Howard Johnson. The McDonalds in Topeka, Kansas had this old sign with “Mr. Speedee” (Ronald McDonald’s predecessor)  up until about 20 years ago.

The tickets are $15.00 so it really depends on how much you want to see a collection of old advertisements. But I do find it entertaining. It’s definitely a one of a kind experience. So if this sounds like something you want to check out, consider this post a sign.

8 Replies to “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.”

    1. Let’s know what you thought about it if you do. The only reservation I had was the 15.00 but it is pretty entertining and if you really stop and look at the signs artwork, it takes a while to visit. they also make neon signs there and that was really interesting.

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