If you’re looking for a sign to tell you what to see on your next vacation, look no further than an industrial section of Tucson. The Ignite Sign Art Museum is just the thing to point you in the right direction.
OK … enough with the bad puns. Here’s the skinny on this really fun and amazing little museum:
You should figure a sign museum would be easy to spot. I mean, if you’re in the sign business, creating a sign to announce your presence is what you do. The Ignite Sign Museum is no exception. Tucked in between auto repair lots and warehouses, its bright welcoming sign lets you know you’ve arrived.
Start your tour in the back room. “Chuck” was there on a recent Saturday to give us an orientation and welcome with a handful of other visitors. Neon signs have been around since the late 1800s according to Chuck. He delighted us with a little history of the marvel of neon then flipped a switch and lit a flame to demonstrate how those tubes of glowing gas are created.
From there, we popped over to a workshop to start our class while others headed out to explore the history of signs.
We’d signed up for a “Make Your Own Neon Sign” class. If you’re interested, sign up early as classes fill up fast. Step one: choose your neon tube and a backing board.
From there you build your sign with step-by-step help from the instructors.
They keep a watchful eye on you to make sure you don’t slip up, but unlike a lot of museum classes, you really do get to do all the work on your sign.
We had opted to share one sign and felt lucky that each step was typically doubled so we each got to drill holes …
Attach screws and nuts …
Twist wires and attach covers for the transformer …
Once you’re done with your sign, you get to wander the museum at your own pace.
Don’t miss the outdoor exhibit for some HUGE pieces that are all lit up.
This little gem of a museum is well worth the stop. Give yourself at least an hour for the museum and if you have time make your own neon sign … and light up your life!
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. What’re you waiting for … a sign??
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