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).
















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Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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  1. I remember going to Ronnie’s with my grandparents in the ’90s. That neon sign is so cool. Thanks to the museum for preserving this stuff and I hope to be able to see it in a cool public space soon.

  2. That was such a great building. It’s a reminder of all the history that has been taken down for crappy looking buildings.

  3. I hope they save the Bowl sign from the Fairbanks alley that was recently demolished. Or is it Aloma Bowl? The sign is still up…

  4. I of course love great exhibitions, but these signs should be on buildings and displayed in public.

  5. We are happy we can protect and preserve these iconic signs for future generations. There is much to be done for now in the area of conservation, but one day an opportunity will present itself to put some of these beloved signs in a public exhibition. In the meantime, please visit our galleries and follow our work in all areas of the collection. It was given as a gift to this community!

  6. I would hope we can keep it here. Another good reason for Morse to open up access to the public! If they know it’ll be preserved and put on display for the residents here, that would hopefully help keeping it here!

  7. Damn well as long as it gets preserved in some capacity I guess. It truly belongs at the morse though.

  8. I talked with the ladies at Dixie and there is another sign preservation company I believe out of NC and they are inquiring about the sign also.

  9. Glad they are saved, but such a travesty that they aren’t visible to the public.

  10. I remember being a little kid seeing that circus circus sign and always begging my mom to take me to the circus lol. I really hope they snag the Dixie fried chicken sign.

  11. I’ve been hearing about this collection for a few years. What are they waiting for, put them back on display!

  12. I hope they get the one from Barnes that just came down in Ivanhoe Village! Always liked that one! Would love to see this display!

  13. Vanessa Stein this reminded me of you! Maybe someday we can see these mid-century signs on display!

  14. David Salanitro-did you know anything about this? Seems like something you’ll be glad to see someday!

  15. so many great pieces of nostalgia. glad to know that they are being saved for future appreciation.