“Signs and sign making are a fascinating reflection of America through the years. If your experience at the American Sign Museum causes you to be more aware of signs in your travels and of their value to businesses and communities, we’ve done our job.”  – Tod Swormstedt, Founder

Our History

Have you ever REALLY noticed the signs around you? They not only show us the way and invite us in (or not!), they reflect the history, technology, commerce, and culture of our communities. Signs and the sign industry have their own stories to tell, and they were being lost to redevelopment and ‘beautification’ projects everywhere.

Tod Swormstedt, former editor and publisher of Signs of the Times magazine, wanted to capture these stories before they were lost forever, and so he founded the National Signs of the Times Museum in 1999 as his self-proclaimed mid-life crisis project. With the help of a few early believers, the renamed American Sign Museum opened its doors in Spring, 2005.

Soon after, Tod began looking for a permanent home that could accommodate the Museum’s collection – which was already outgrowing its rented space – and his vision for a more interactive experience. His search ended at a former women’s clothing and later parachute factory in Camp Washington, a historic and ready-to-bloom-again area of Cincinnati.

With the continued help of our supporters, we opened the doors of our permanent home June 23, 2012!

Highlights of the new site include

  • 19,000+ square feet of exhibit space, with another 20,000 waiting for development.
  • 28-foot ceilings, able to accommodate our large signs.
  • A working neon shop. Watch the owners of Neonworks create neon signs, and maybe have a chat with them during a museum guided tour.  Note: the shop is open weekdays only. Often the guys come in at tour time on the weekends, we can’t guarantee it. We’re working on having someone there all the time. Stay tuned.
  • Event space for your meeting, workshop, party, reception.  Anything you can imagine – well almost anything!
  • Archives of books, photos, and documents reflecting the art, craft, and history of signmaking.

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.

Visit Us

Experience the visual delight of the American Sign Museum with family, friends, coworkers, even the guests at your own event hosted at the American Sign Museum.

We look forward to sharing the signs and artifacts – and their stories – with you.