About The Museum

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OUR STORY

The American Sign Museum promotes sign preservation and restoration by displaying nearly 100 years of signage. We preserve and protect American history and pay homage to the artistry and craftsmanship of days gone by. Our collection honors an often overlooked part of our culture that hides in plain sight as part of our daily lives. 

 

OUR HISTORY

Tod Swormstedt spent 26 years on the staff of Signs of the Times magazine, and he became the fourth-generation editor of the "bible of the sign industry," which was founded in 1906. He parlayed all of his knowledge and contacts into a self-proclaimed “mid-life crisis project.” Here was Tod's chance to preserve the 3-D craftsmanship of multi-generational sign companies, to tell their stories and bring these signs to life before they were lost forever. 

Thus, in 1999, he founded the National Signs of the Times Museum. With accelerating support, the museum was renamed and re-opened as the American Sign Museum in May 2005. Its temporary home within an arts center sufficed for several years, but growing pains ensued. The magnificent McDonald's and Holiday Inn signs couldn't be displayed to their full heights.

Tod began searching for a more permanent home for the ever-growing collection. He needed to fulfill his vision for an interactive museum experience.  He found ASM's new home in Camp Washington, an appropriately historic area of Cincinnati. The century-old Oesterlein Machine Company-Fashion Frocks, Inc. Complex became ASM's new home. Its doors opened in June 2012.

ASM's expansion has continued unabated. New acquisitions arrive weekly, and the 20,000 square feet of museum space quickly filled. In October 2016, the roof in the annex of the building was replaced, which allows for a future doubling of the museum's size.