Friday November 11, 2022 | by Marziya Hasan

A labor of love that opened in the midst of the pandemic, the Neon Museum of Philadelphia is closing down for good

After opening its doors to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2021, the Neon Museum of Philadelphia will be closing for good this December 11th. Founder Len Davidson opened the museum less than two years ago after spending decades exploring neon art. The museum consisted of a collection of pieces highlighting neon art and commercial signs and advertisements of past businesses in Philadelphia.

“After almost two years of love and light, we’re sad to announce that the Neon Museum of Philadelphia is closing its doors,” it was announced in a press release. “As we near the end of our run, we celebrate the opportunity we’ve had to display our collection of history and art with visitors from Philadelphia and beyond. It has been a pleasure to share our love of neon and appreciation for Philly culture in this unique community space.”

Corrie Siegel, director of the Museum of Neon Artin California, was disappointed to hear the news. “My heart aches for the team there because I know what it's like for a museum,” said Siegel.  “It's very sad to see an institution that is kind of a sister institution struggling but we feel confident it will find a new home.”

Unable to meet revenue requirements in the aftermath of the pandemic, the museum cited its location as a contributing factor to its lack of visitors. Manager Alyssa Shea explained that, because the museum was located “in a warehouse with no street-facing frontage”, it was difficult to access. According to an Instagram post on the museum’s page, they hope to find a new location for the pieces that is more accessible.

Victoria Ahmadizadeh Melendez, an artist and author of the cover article in the Spring 2021 edition of Glass (#162) on neon, saw the Philadelophia museum as a great educational space for neon enthusiasts and students. “It’s also a really amazing record of local history,” she told the Hot Sheet. “I was part of an exhibition that was in that space and it did bring a lot of attention to my work. The piece that I had in the exhibition sold and it drew some commissions after that so I think it really did attract neon enthusiasts and got a lot more people interested in neon.”

As they seek a new space for their collection, their press release announcing the closure states that they hope to partner with a local institution in order to make this possible. 

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.