Editor’s Note: This post has been edited due to a request by the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
We have written a couple of times about the growing collection of neon signs that have been saved by the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park (Website); once concerning the Merita Bread sign, HERE, and once again, more recently with the Dixie Fried Chicken sign, HERE. But what happens to the signs once they’ve been removed from their roadside pedestals has remained a mystery to us, until now.
We were allowed access to the museum’s air conditioned vaults this past week and given a private walk through of the collection by museum director and president of the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation, Dr. Laurence Ruggiero, himself.
The museum has been saving the signs from development and demos for over 20 years but Ruggiero made it painfully clear that there is no chance of any tours being made available to the public any time soon. The signs are simply being taken out of the elements and put into storage where they can be lovingly restored and cared for, out of the public eye. The collection is extremely expensive to maintain and operate as some of the massive signs require as much power as a small house just to turn on. That being said, there is a hope that the sign collection will one day be a part of a larger museum expansion that would display their over 5,000 pieces of Floridian artworks. Fun fact, the museum currently only displays about 20 percent of their total collection.
Click HERE to see the Orlando Sentinel‘s video tour of the warehouse from January, 2015.
The best way to support the Morse Museum’s efforts to save local neon signs is to see their exhibits. They are open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $6. Click HERE to plan your visit.
The following photos were taken by Liv Jonse (Website).