The Neon Museum

If you only go to one museum in Las Vegas, it should be the Neon Museum. The Neon Museum is rich in what made Las Vegas famous – neon. That spectacular glow of gases swirling inside glass made the lure of Las Vegas so bright and people flocked. Sadly though, over the years, many motels, hotels, casinos, and businesses have either bit the dust or “updated” their signage. But thankfully some of that signage is laid to rest in the “Neon Boneyard”.

The Neon Museum doesn’t just let these old signs sit out, they are also actively restoring their signs, slowly, one at a time. The Neon Museum offers both daytime and nighttime tours, and Patrick and I did both during our stay in Vegas, so we got to see the restored signs lit up. You’ll see a combination of both visits throughout the post.

The Neon Museum is a photographer’s dream, and I took hundreds of photos! And even though I narrowed it down, it was still quite a lot!

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The Mob Museum

Patrick and I are finally home from our road trip to Idaho! Why Idaho? Well, my grandfather on my mom’s side passed away, so we went for his services, but I figured if we had to go, why not make the best of it, and do a road trip?

The first stop on our trip was Las Vegas (not counting the abandoned waterpark in my last post), and we crammed a lot into our two night stay, so I have lots to share with you! And we will start with the Mob Museum.

Very fittingly located in an old Las Vegas courthouse, the Mob Museum was on my list last time I was in Vegas, but didn’t get around to it. The museum offers a chronology of the history of the mob in the United States, as well as the history of law enforcement’s way of combatting the mob, but with a strong focus on Las Vegas, and a nice general history of Vegas.

At the very end of the museum was a small room showcasing vintage fashion from the late 1910s through the early 1930s, with some absolutely stunning pieces! So if you’re more in this for the fashion, just scroll to the end!

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Vegas Finds & More

After visiting the Atomic Museum, I did a bit of shopping at some of the vintage shops. Surprisingly I only bought one thing. Just a purse from Amberjoy’s Vintage Closet, though her store was quite lovely, and filled with beautiful things!

I bought the purse for a few reasons, one is that I failed to bring along a second purse for an evening outing, and this one happened to go with what I was planning on wearing, and I have a feeling I would have bought it anyway, as white purses are kind of hard to come by, and I only have two.

Patrick and I spent the evening at Frankie’s Tiki Room with two of our friends who had moved to Vegas just a few months before our move to California. Like us, they love vintage, and we had a delightful time chatting and sipping fabulous tiki drinks. We also came home with three new tiki mugs.

Patrick and I decided we would only collect tiki mugs from places we go, so we won’t get too crazy with the tiki. The Frankenstien’s Monster mug was a no-brainer on purchasing, as it was just plain cool, as well as the place was called Frankie’s. Then the other two were so Vegas-y, we had to get ’em.

During the course of the evening, our friends invited me over the following day while Patrick was at his conference. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting, listening to records, and eventually we did a bit of sight-seeing, and looked at various old celebrity homes, and then visited an antique mall, rushing through it in the last 30 minutes that it was open, but I came home with quite possibly the most amazing belt!

Yes, that’s a metal cobra shaped belt. I nearly fell over when I saw it, and when I saw the price tag, $15.00! I’m pretty excited to integrate it into an outfit soon!

After, we stopped in at the Westgate, formally the Las Vegas Hilton, where Elvis had his final performance, and we peeked around at the variety of Elvis items they had on display.

I had plans to go to the Mob Museum, but ended up having such a blast into the evening with Sarah and Nolan, that I ran out of time! The next morning Patrick and I slated the Neon Museum before hitting the road back home, but when I arrived at the hotel, Patrick had returned, feeling under the weather, and still felt crummy in the morning, and we decided against the Neon Museum.

While I’m bummed to have missed out on a few things, I’m sure we will be back! Sadly, that does wrap up my Vegas posts! Not much, I know! I was dreadful at taking photos, mostly because a lot of the time I left the camera at the hotel! But I do have one more post about our drive home! So look for that soon!

Atomic Testing Museum

When I heard that Las Vegas was home to the National Atomic Testing Museum, I was quite giddy with excitement and it went to the top of my list of things to do during our short stay.

The image of the atom or of a mushroom cloud may bring out different feelings in different people. For some, it is a horrific icon, of a time when the United States used the ultimate in destructive power to completely level two whole cities. While others see it as a savor, something that brought an end to the bloodshed of the Second World War. For others it is an icon of nostalgia, believing that while the Cold War raged, it was a safer time period. For me, the word “atomic” has many meanings, mostly as part of the optimistic look we had toward the stars, and how atomic power and the space race then influenced design. But, as a history major, I am not unaware of the cost of such beautiful design. Little Boy and Fat Man killed thousands. But also brought an end to a very horrific war, and, some historians estimate, saved millions, as Japan seemed unrelenting. I see both sides of the coin of the terror of the atomic bomb, nuclear power (for example the Chernobyl disaster), but I also see the problems it has solved, and while the National Atomic Testing Museum highlights the pluses of the atomic bomb, and the sciences that followed, it is not without the other side represented as well.

The museum begins with World War II, the Manhattan Project, and the end of the war with the dropping of the bombs, and the decision to choose the land outside of Las Vegas as a testing ground in the 1950s. It follows the aftermath of WWII, the 50s period of “Duck and Cover”, Civil Defense, and the influence on popular culture. I especially liked the fallout shelter display, which also had a catalog of the mannequins used, offering both before and after pictures, some whose after picture was just a black rectangle with the word “missing” below. J.C. Penny produced the images, as they provided the clothing for the mannequins set to be bombed. A clever marketing scheme if there ever was one! By 1963 nuclear testing moved underground, due to fallout, and the museum showcases the transition, and technology developed for the move to underground testing.

I was so very pleased I was able to visit this extremely unique museum as it was also very educational, and is worth a visit if you find yourself in Vegas. Admission costs $22, though discounts are offered to a wide variety of groups, so check their website to see if a discount is available for you!