Somehow, neon signs are both opulent and decadent, romantic and depraved. And, like murals and high-rises, they tell the story of a city.
That’s the idea, anyway, behind the Neon Museum of Philadelphia, the new emporium of forgotten signs located within the makerspace warehouse NextFab. Many of the displays—among them local legends like Pat’s Steaks, Bookbinder’s, and McGillin’s Olde Ale House—point to a more colorful bygone era in the City of Brotherly Love.
The museum also features displays from national commercial brands like Sherwin-Williams and GE, and even some neon folk art from the likes of John Tanaka, Val Maddalo, and museum founder Len Davidson.
There are about 130 decommissioned, non-restored neon signs at the museum.
Know Before You Go
Tours are available daily and can be reserved online via the Neon Museum. While the museum hosts satellite displays at Drexel University and the Foundation for Architecture, the bulk of the collection is hosted at the museum itself. The Neon Museum also offers walking/bus tours for groups. The museum is located in Kensington, near Luna Kitchen & Provisions and Evil Genius Beer Company.