Satellite Museum Now Open!
See 2008 Daily News Slide Show about the opening

1950s Animated Greyhound Dog on view at Satelitte Museum

1950s Buster Brown & Tige, restored in 1984, on view at Satellite Museum

Len Davidson began collecting old neon signs in the mid-1970s and established the Neon Museum of Philadelphia in 1985. The Museum's mission is to preserve, restore and display classic neon signs for the public to enjoy. About 100+ neon pieces in the collection date to the 1950's and earlier.
1. The Collection
2. Satellite Museum and Viewing the Collection

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1. The Collection

There are several types of pieces in the collection:

A. Exterior metal and neon signs with painted faces, such as Levis

1950's Levis Hot Dog

B. Exterior metal and neon signs with porcelain faces, such as Lamplighter and Sherwin Williams

1950s Howard Johnson's Lamplighter

1950s Sherwin-Williams Paints "Cover The Earth"

C. Neon signs that were hung in windows or displayed in other business interior spaces

1950s Xtra Glo Paints

D. Neon clocks

1930s Royal Typewriter Clock

E. Neon art pieces

F. Painted plastic signs with back-lit neon interiors

G. Folk art type neon constructions made by old-time tubebenders

H. Non-neon painted wooden signs

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2. Satellite Museum and Viewing the Collection

McGillin's Old Ale House, 1950s, on display at satellite museum

Thirteen of the pieces were installed in October, 2008, at the Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street. This location is just down the street from Philadelphia's famous Reading Terminal Market. This spectacular neon display can be viewed Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday from 12 to 5. Hours may change, so call first at (215) 569-3188. This display is free to the public and may expand in the future.

Pompeii Grill, 1950s, on display at satellite museum

Dripping Faucet, 1950s, on display at satellite museum

Our neon postcards and book, Vintage Neon, are sold at the Center's book and gift shop. The Center's gallery area, with its unusual neon illumination, is also a terrific place to hold meetings and parties.

The Neon Museum has several other pieces on loan throughout the city. We have also been in talks with restaurants, museums, and other public buildings to set up additional satellite museums for the many signs in storage.

The original display concept was to loan the signs to individual merchants and organizations so that the neon could be seen in a street context. In the 1980s, the museum restored and installed over 20 signs in storefronts and on building exteriors at no cost to the receiver of the loan.

1950s Pontiac Logo was on loan at the Silk City Diner until the Diner was sold in 2006.

Over time, this became unwieldy as businesses closed or changed owners. Several new business owners tried to keep signs in their possession. Another factor was the significant time and money it takes to install and later remove a sizable neon sign. Finally, the rapid growth of the collection added to the logistical problems in scattering the signs.

1950s Pat's Steaks Crown, on loan at Jack's Firehouse restaurant;
Pioneer & Originator of the Steak Sandwich in storage

Len Davidson also conducts guided tours and slide shows for civic, convention and educational groups. These presentations examine his collection, other Philadelphia signs, and the history/technology of neon signage. For more information contact Len Davidson at or phone 215-232-0478.

Home | Davidson Neon | Museum | Postcards | Vintage Neon Book | More Info | Links