Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's the Sign of the Times for Camp Washington

Gold Leaf and Glass Techniques
      Essex Studio was home to the American Sign Museum from its beginning in 2005.  Now they're in a former women's clothing and parachute factory in Camp Washington, best known for its chili parlor.  We were at their sneak preview party and excited to see the signs displayed in a museum setting rather than the stacked and leaning against the wall approach used at their former home.

Entrance to the American Sign Museum

      The entrance is spacious, flanked outdoors with oversized fiberglass and neon pieces.  Starting with Frisch's Big Boy, the signs are somewhat in chronological order, grouped by category, or displayed in a Main Street life-size montage spanning the early 1900's to the 60's.  There are familiar icons at every turn with representation of everything from McDonald's to Marshall Field's.  

The BIg Boy Leads the Way
Gas Stations to Whirling Satellites
Main Street Signs

McDonald's and Marshall Field's on Main Street
      I would view this more as a collection rather than a museum at this point, or perhaps a work in progress.  Although there are obvious fixtures with spaces for information, there is none or very little to date.  Once that important aspect is in place it will be a fun place to explore, as well as to learn about the history of the industry and its contribution to business and retail.

      The museum is also an event center with facilities for up to 800 guests.  

Yep, that's me!

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