Going to a museum might not be the first thing that crosses your mind when planning a trip to Las Vegas. However, there are a couple of museums in Las Vegas receiving upgrades that might be worth your time.
The Neon Museum and Boneyard is a must see for anyone looking to see what Las Vegas used to look like. The Mob Museum gives a look into the mafia and their place in Las Vegas history. Coincidentally, both museums are located in downtown Las Vegas.
Neon Museum and Boneyard
This nearly two-acre campus is a bit more than a typical museum. The Neon Museum is where you go to physically see the history of what makes Las Vegas unique. This isn’t a museum for by the book education. There aren’t many museums that are popular because they have a bunch of signs. However, the vintage neon signs allow tour guides to educate guests on casinos and other businesses throughout Las Vegas history. These signs are why the majority of people visit the neon museum.
The majority of education and activity at the Neon Museum takes place outside in the Neon Boneyard and Boneyard Park. You’ll find more than 250 historic signs at the Neon Museum including signs from the Sahara, Stardust, New-New York, Lady Luck and O’Shea’s. The new expansion will bring about 30 to 40 new signs out to the Boneyard. Early additions include signs from the recently imploded Riviera, recently closed Las Vegas Club and world famous Spearmint Rhino gentlemen’s club.
All tours are guided and many sell out in advance. Visit neonmuseum.org to learn more and reserve a time to visit. The tours last about an hour and can be exhausting during the day in the summer when temperatures reach over 110 degrees in the shade. Keep that in mind when scheduling a tour.
This is a more traditional, but modern, museum. At the Mob Museum you will take an interactive tour throughout the history of the mob. You’ll learn about the mob’s impact on Las Vegas history and the mark it’s made in the world. The Mob Museum isn’t just a place to walk around and read plaques. The museum has high-tech theater presentations, one-of-a-kind artifacts and interactive, themed environments.
You’ll learn about such historical mob figures like Al Capone, Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Ben Siegel, Sam Giancana, Frank Rosenthal, Whitey Bulger, John Gotti and much more. The Mob Museum also looks at law enforcement and the mob. There are items and artifacts like different guns that relate to law enforcement’s role in helping to defeat the mob.
New exhibits this year at the Mob Museum include “Organized Crime Today,” “The Crime Lab” and “Firearms Training Simulator.” The exhibits feature wall-sized touchscreens and hands-on learning. This unique museum offers a lot of education about Las Vegas and cities around the country.
The Mob Museum is a great summer activity as it brings you inside for at least two hours of air conditioning and education. Visit themobmuseum.org for more information.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.