I had the pleasure of being invited on a press trip to Cincinnati. After finding out Cincy was hip yet quirky, I found out that we were going to take a trip to the American Sign Museum. Yes, that’s right a museum for signs. My initial reaction was “meh”, I mean seriously…is a sign museum necessary? But then again, there is a museum for just about everything, so why not.
I couldn’t help but notice that several people on the trip were excited about the museum which got me more into the adventure. Once we pulled up in the driveway, I got it. The huge Big Boy sign in front made me smile. I got sucked right in. There was a very informative tour guide who lead us through the space sharing history and information about the signs.
I actually learned an interesting fact about signs that used fluorescent lights. Did you know that fluorescent lighting was invited by the French as an upscale way to light signs?. Somewhere along the way, fluorescent lights became known for seedy establishments and “red light” districts. That is when florescent lighting started fading into the sunset. Businesses were paid to get rid of those type of signs to make neighborhoods look more upscale. This why fluorescent signs signs can mainly be found in certain locations like Las Vegas and well… seedy locations. Long story short, I came out of the tour with some things that make made me say “hmmm”.
Most of the signs in the museum are sent to be added as a contribution. Once in awhile they will bid for a sign to have it included in their work, but that’s rare. A majority of the signs are from the United States. So many signs have been sent in, they are expanding their space. It was amazing to see their archives, they don’t have enough room for everything that they receive.
The great thing about the museum is that it can be rented for special events such as conventions and meetings. People actually get married at the location. I have to admit, it would be a funky and cool spot to tie the knot. Who wouldn’t want to say “I do” next to a Howard Johnson’s sign? I mean..hell yes!
It’s totally worth a trip whether signs are your jam or you are in the fence about the museum (like me). Walking through the museum will be very nostalgic and possibly make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.