Even though Las Vegas is famous for being the one city that
won’t hesitate in imploding a landmark building or discarding a
historical sign, it is doing a fairly good job at holding on and
remembering its past. And with Las Vegas having celebrated the
city’s centennial in May we thought what better time than now to
take a peek at the city’s neon history with a look at some of the
museums scattered around town.
Here’s a quick rundown for your clients.
Art and Culture
The opening of Wynn Las Vegas in April saw the return of one of
the finest private art collections in the world. Once again casino
mogul Steve Wynn has put more than a dozen paintings by artists
such as Gauguin, Monet and Picasso on display for all to see as
part of The Wynn Collection.
It joins two other high-profile exhibits. On loan from the
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, comes a collection titled The
Impressionist Landscape from Corot to Van Gogh at the Bellagio
Gallery of Fine Art. It showcases 34 masterworks by 16 of the
world’s most renowned artists including Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh,
Monet and Renoir.
The Venetian’s Guggenheim Hermitage Museum’s latest exhibit,
through July 31, is The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient
Egypt. It’s the largest collection of its kind to be loaned by
Egypt for exhibition in North America.
Also, through Oct. 31 the Tropicana is hosting Titanic: The
Artifact Exhibition featuring more than 300 authentic artifacts
including a 15-ton section of ship’s hull fetched from the RMS
Titanic wreck site 2½ miles beneath the North Atlantic Ocean.
History and Learning
For clients looking to make their trip an educational one, there
are several spots to visit. Go back in time at the Nevada State
Museum and Historical Society where exhibits explain how American
Indians survived in the harsh Mojave Desert climate and find out
what early settlers found when they arrived in the Silver
The Las Vegas Natural History Museum includes dinosaur fossils,
African and wildlife rooms and an animated 35-foot-tall
Tyrannosaurus rex. It is conveniently located across from the Lied
Discovery Children’s Museum with more than 100 kid-friendly,
Those fascinated by Bugsy Siegel, the mob and just gambling in
general will enjoy the Casino Legends Hall of Fame at the
Tropicana. It houses a variety of casino memorabilia including old
photographs, slot machines, gaming chips and more.
And although not technically a museum, the Hoover Dam is an
impressive sight worthy of the trip and walking tour.
When two of the biggest and most flamboyant entertainers of all
time performed in your city and called it home for a period of
time, you better dedicate a museum to them. Las Vegas did. After
all, there needs to be some gathering place for all those Elvis and
The Elvis-A-Rama Museum has more than 2,000 of the King’s
personal items, including Elvis’ jewelry, clothing, letters and his
purple Lincoln. Over at the Liberace Museum you’ll find
rhinestone-studded pianos and a costume and wardrobe gallery that
would make today’s divas blush with envy.
If authenticity doesn’t really matter but you still want to pose
with some famous celebrities, check out Madame Tussaud’s, the home
of more than 100 wax figures the likes of which include John F.
Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Tiger Woods, Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey.
It’s at the Venetian.
And believe it or not there was a time when Nevada (and Las
Vegas in particular) held a soft spot for the nuclear testing going
on in the desert. The Atomic Testing Museum captures that history
with photo exhibits and kitschy pop culture items such as a
mixed-drink book titled “Atomic Cocktails.” The Ground Zero
Theater, designed after the concrete bunkers used at the original
test site complete with wooden benches and red warning lights,
shows video of an above-ground detonation. Pick up an Albert
Einstein action figure on your way out.
If a nuclear glow isn’t for you but nostalgia is, the Neon
Museum is a downtown, outdoor walking tour past some classic,
refurbished Las Vegas signs. There is also a sign “boneyard,” a
fenced off dirt lot, that is the resting place of dozens of
historic signs yet to be restored. Boneyard tours for 10 or more
are available by special appointment.