Neon nabobs might enjoy this museum, located in downtown L.A. at 136 W. 4th St. (at Main). The space has roughly a dozen vintage neon signs, including the ones pictured here, as well as modern art that employs neon. And there are some awesome photos in the lobby.
Founded in 1981, the museum has bounced around and is now in its fourth location, and this one isn’t permanent either. But it’s been there since late 2007 and will be there for the forseeable future.
I visited the previous location in 2005 after the Midway Building Materials sign in Montclair was donated to the museum, restored and put on display. The sign, formerly at
Mission Holt and Ramona, depicts a brickmason wielding a trowel to lay a row of bricks. He appeared to move as the sign blinked.
Alas, the Midway man is now in storage because the sign was too large and too heavy to be moved into the new storefront location.
But if you think you might like the museum anyway, go for it. I went there Saturday via Metrolink and the Red Line subway; from the Pershing Square stop, it’s about three blocks on foot. If you go, Pete’s Cafe is a half-block to the east and highly recommended for a meal. The newly remodeled Cole’s is two blocks south.
Museum executive director Kim Koga was working the desk when I dropped in. She used to live out here, and still visits frequently, so you won’t be condescended to if you tell her you’re from, say, Upland. How many L.A. attractions can you say that about?
The museum website gives hours and other details. They’re doing a neon bus cruise on Valentine’s Day if you want an especially offbeat, if bright, outing.