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Last Updated:  06/04/2021


Most everyone has visited a Japanese or Chinese restaurant and was greeted by a statue of a cat holding up or waving its paw. This is the Maneki Neko, a lucky charm originating in Edo era Japan, said to bring prosperity to those displaying it. These beckoning felines (maneki = to beckon, neko = cat) are often referred to as Lucky or Fortune Cats.  They have become a pop culture icon around the world. More information about their history and meaning can be found on our "
About Maneki Neko" page.

Inside our house in 2009
I have always collected cat themed merchandise, but began focusing on Maneki Neko a little over twelve years ago. At first they filled a shelf on a bookcase in our study. They expanded onto their own bookcase, shelves, displays, etc until they claimed an entire wall to themselves. In August of 2012, my friend and coworker Eva approached me about sharing space at Cincinnati's Essex Studios, a former clothing factory turned artist collective. Another friend, Jenn, joined us. The timing was perfect, as a family member temporarily moved in with us and we needed to make room. At the Essex, my third of the small space was devoted to the hundreds of Maneki Neko. My place of employment, a retail party supply store called Cappels, was generous enough to sell me several large and small display cases they were no longer using at a very affordable cost.

Inside our house in 2011
The Lucky Cat Museum opened during the October 2012 ArtWalk (when many of the studios open their doors and outside artists set up in the hallways). Since then the collection keeps getting bigger! Eva moved on to a different studio space. Jenn still makes her unique jewelry and wearable curiosities, but also helps out with the Museum. Mikaila joined the crew as a volunteer docent and brought with her a big beautiful ball of white fluff named Jeffh Jefferson. He served as our official mascot, greeting visitors during Artwalks or special events until his passing in 2020.  Amy first volunteered in September 2017 and has been invaluable ever since!
The Lucky Cat Museum is open to the public, by appointment, Tuesday-Saturday from 3:00pm-6:00pm. During Essex ArtWalks, held two-four times a year, the Museum is open 3:00pm-10:00pm. Our hours are short so I am able to still work my regular job before opening the Museum to guests.

Here's a short video of the opening night:

Moving in, August 2012

All artwork in this site is copyright to the respective creators.  Please drop a line if you are interested in using any for your own site. Thank you!