WORTH THE DRIVE: 7 reasons to visit The American Sign Museum in Cincinnati

America’s largest public sign museum a perfect out of the ordinary day trip

Who knew historic signage could be so fascinating and so colorful?

A trip to the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, which is dedicated to sign preservation and restoration, will illuminate you.

Here are 7 reasons you’ve got to visit.

1. Age-old signs. The American Sign Museum covers American signage from the early 1900s to the 1950s. The tools of the early sign-making trade are displayed, as well as pre-electric and modern plastic-faced signs.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

2. A big welcome. Before you even get inside the museum, you'll be greeted by an over-sized hammer and walk under a turban-wearing genie holding a welcome sign.

3. Founding father. The museum was founded by Tod Swormstedt, an editor for Signs of the Times magazine, who wanted to preserve 3-D craftmanship. In 1999 Swormstedt founded the National Signs of the Times Museum, which re-opened as the American Sign Museum in 2005.

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4. Target practice. Hundreds of vintage signs from across the county have been moved to the American Sign Museum and restored. But some remain just as they were found, complete with bullet holes.

5. Crafts people at work. Neonworks of Cincinnati, a commercial neon shop, is located inside the museum. If you visit Wednesday through Friday, you can watch them work.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

6. Vintage neon. A streetscape filled with neon signs in the colors of the rainbow will transport you to another era. A sign for Kona Lanes from the 1950s was created for a Polynesian Tiki-themed building in Mesa, CA, and a McDonald's sign built in 1963 is topped with the original McDonald's mascot, "Speedee."

7. Dayton's Pizza King. A Vic Cassano's Pizza King porcelain neon sign from the 1950s has been restored and is on display at the museum. The pizza chain was founded in Dayton in 1953 by Cassano and his mother-in-law, Caroline "Mom" Dinisi. The 1,000-pound sign stands almost 14-feet tall.

>> RELATED: 5 things to know about Cassano's, Dayton oldest pizza chain

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Want to go?

WHAT: The American Sign Museum

WHERE: 1330 Monmouth Avenue, Cincinnati (in the Camp Washington neighborhood)

HOURS:  10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 12-4 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday. Closed on the following holidays: the day before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Day

COST: $15/adults, $10/seniors (65+), students and military; up to three children ages 12 and under are free with each paying adult

INFO: 513-541-6366 or info@americansignmuseum.org

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