April 20, 2014

American Sign Museum

If you would ever think to cross the Las Vegas strip (as seen in movies) with a history buff's garage, you would get the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. Without even entering, you can already tell you're in for an intriguing journey.  

When you walk inside, your eyes adjust to the numerous illuminations of in-candescent and neon bulbs shouting advertisements for businesses that have long since closed their doors.  

However, businesses that have stood the test of time also have a larger than life representation. See: Big Boy. There was also a moving neon- light McDonald's sign that was larger than 5'5'' me and 5'2'' Lauren standing tip-toed on each other's shoulders! I could not get a picture that did it justice, you're just going to have to go see it for yourself. 

One thing I really liked about the set-up of the museum, is that they created entire scenes for the signs they acquired. Under the "Drugs" sign, there was a small store front. Instead of items for sale being displayed in the windows, there were historical items relating to drugstore advertising. For a gas-station sign, they created a simple gas station that looked like it could be parked right off the road in a small town. 

I think my favorite sign was this "Pops" sign in the room used for private parties & gatherings. Its lettering was a glittering white which scattered the light from the flashing bulbs that flashed across the calligraphy. 

I also really loved all of the interesting reflections the bright lights created against the glass panels that protected the historical material. 

Surprisingly, this place is also very educational about the transition from old-school advertising to what we see on the side of the road in the modern day. It takes you not only through different types of lettering, but the shift on how these letters were made over the years. They have definitely struck a good balance between lit and unlit signs, between fun and educational.

Over all, this was a wonderful stop to make. Admission was slightly over priced ($15), but I do not regret having the opportunity to look at an interesting history of U.S. advertising.  I hope some day that there might be an international sign museum, examining the contrasts of how different areas developed their advertising practices. 

Remember, if you would like prints of any of these photographs, you can message via Etsy or e-mail me. All information can be found on my contact page. 
Have a wonderful day! 

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