During a self-proclaimed midlife crisis, Tod Swormstedt became the voice for some silent witnesses to American history: signs. The former editor and publisher of Signs of the Times magazine was more than familiar with the subject, and he wanted to give this particular slice of Americana a permanent tribute. He opened American Sign Museum in 1999 and filled it with nearly 4,000 books, photos, and, of course, lots and lots of signs.
Size: more than 19,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space (with 20,000 more on the way), featuring 28-foot ceilings for larger signs
Eye Catcher: a glowing McDonald's sign from 1963?six years before NASA landed a cheeseburger on the moon
Permanent Mainstay: the neon and hand-painted signs of Main Street, which recreates storefronts from decades past
Hidden Gem: the grizzly-looking sign from bygone supermarket chain Big Bear?which someone discovered while mowing grass
Don't Miss: the neon shop, open weekdays, where workers create new signs and chat with visitors
From the Press: For a glance inside the museum, check out the many video interviews here.