The Neon Sign Museum is an outdoor installation with 20 vintage neon signs that offer a glimpse of Edmonton’s culture and history.
Since the signs have historical significance, all of them are meticulously restored and installed on 104th Street and 104 Avenue.
If you like the vibes and grandeur of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign in Las Vegas, visiting this site should be on your bucket list.
Here’s a simple guide to the Neon Sign Museum.
What to see in the Neon Sign Museum?
As soon as dusk settles, you’ll see various shades of red, yellow, green, and orange on 104th Street and 104 Avenue.
The Neon Sign Museum is not like any other museum in the city. In fact, it’s the first of its kind in the country because it’s set outdoors and features Edmonton’s neon past.
Due to that, you can conveniently catch a glimpse of the neon signs while strolling by.
The streets have become a popular photo-op destination not just for locals but also for tourists who want to snag Instagrammable pictures.
Each neon sign has been saved and collected by volunteers from the City of Edmonton Heritage Planning team. The team has scoured Edmonton to find vintage neon signs from various demolished and old structures.
At first, only eight neon signs were displayed on the streets, but as the volunteers dug up more goods and restored them, the number slowly increased.
Most neon signs featured in the museum are from drug stores, telegraph businesses, bathtub stores, and communication hubs from the 1960s.
What is the story behind the Neon Sign Museum?
The Neon Sign Museum became available to the public in February 2014. It is the product of David Holdsworth’s idea.
You see, his goal is to turn Edmonton’s junk from the past into an attraction of the present.
Even if there are new structures in the city, they still want to preserve these streets to let the younger generations witness the historical character of Edmonton.
He and his team searched for neon signs from closed stores and demolished buildings. Instead of throwing the signs away, they decided to restore and display them on the streets.
This might seem like an easy project to accomplish, but in reality, traditional neon signs are not usually manufactured nowadays. It is because there are not a lot of artisans who can craft the signs out of hand-blown glass tubes, and the fuel needed for the projects is quite expensive.
Note that the team is still searching for additional neon signs to add to this existing collection, so if ever you have one in your care, you can donate it to the team. This way, you can help the city’s efforts in restoring and revitalizing its historic streets.
When is it open?
The best thing about Neon Sign Museum is that it’s free and requires no admission ticket or reservation. Moreover, it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can visit at your most convenient time.
Since the signs are installed on a busy street with a nice brick wall as a backdrop, the neon glow captures passersby like bugs to a light. Of course, the best time to take pictures on this street is at night.