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American Sign Museum Expansion Opens July 13

Celebration planned as the museum doubles in size





The American Sign Museum (ASM, Cincinnati) will be unveiling its 20,000-sq.-ft. Expansion with a grand re-opening July 13 with activities throughout the weekend, according to a press release.

“After more than two years of planning and construction, we’re excited to welcome visitors to a bigger and better Main Street,” David Dupee, ASM director is quoted in the press release. “With the expanded space, visitors can experience more signs – ranging from hand-painted shop windows to a classic theater marquee – and enjoy a place devoted to learning, inspiration, and exploration.”

Highlights of the expansion include the following:

  • loka Theatre marquee – The Ioka Theater, a landmark in Exeter, NH, opened in 1915. The only marquee in the ASM’s collection, the sign will mark a new theater space in the museum, designed to show videos and presentations about the collection as well as host small events and meetings.
  • The Ward’s Butter Bread sign – During demolition of a Chicago building, the original façade – hidden for more than 70 years – featuring three hand-painted advertisements was discovered. The Ward’s Butter Bread sign was found to be the work of Jack Briggs, founder of the Beverly Sign Co. which inspired the sign industry in the 1950’s and ’60s.
  • Johnny’s Big Red Grill – Tallest sign in the new wing at 21.5 ft, from Ithaca, NY, from a beloved watering hole of Cornell University students.
  • G & J Tire – Oldest sign in new wing, circa 1927, from Buffalo, NY.
  • 36 sign painters from across the US and Canada created the hand-painted signs in the expanded Main Street.


The three-phase construction project began in 2022. Phase I included staff offices, a conference room, a collections area, and a library and resource center. Phase II extends ASM’s “Main Street” exhibition into the new space, also adding a multi-use classroom and flex-space to support programming, a catering kitchen, and a storage area.

“With the expansion, we can further the work we do to promote the historic contributions of the sign industry in American culture,” Tod Swormstedt, ASM’s founder, is quoted in the release. “We’re looking forward to expanding our education programs, welcoming more events, and increasing our outreach to the community.”


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