The Neon Museum (Las Vegas, Nevada)
The Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, features signs from old casinos and other businesses displayed outdoors on 2.62 acres. The museum features a restored lobby shell from the defunct La Concha Motel as its visitor center, which officially opened on October 27, 2012. For many years, the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) stored many of these old signs in their "boneyard." The signs were slowly being destroyed by exposure to the elements. The signs are considered by Las Vegas locals, business owners and government organizations to be not only artistically, but also historically, significant to the culture of the city. Each of the restored signs in the collection holds a story about who created it and why it is important. The Neon Museum was founded in 1996 as a partnership between the Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada and the City of Las Vegas. Today, it is an independent non-profit. Located on Las Vegas Boulevard and Bonanza, the Neon Museum includes the new Neon Boneyard Park, which is adjacent to the former YESCO Boneyard. The impetus behind the museum was the loss of the iconic sign from The Sands; after it closed in 1995, there was no place to store the massive sign, and it was scrapped. To mark its official opening in November 1996, the Neon Museum restored and installed the Hacienda Horse & Rider sign at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street. However, access to the collection was provided by appointment only. Annual attendance was approximately 12–20,000 during this time. In 2005, the historic La Concha lobby was donated to the museum, which moved and reassembled the building 4 miles (6.4 km) north along Las Vegas Boulevard after cutting it into eight pieces. It now serves as the museum's visitors' center and headquarters. Although it cost nearly $3 million to move and restore the La Concha, the plans to open a museum became concrete after the donation of the building, drawing a number of public and private grants and donations. In total, approximately $6.5 million was raised for the visitors' center, headquarters, a new park, and restoration of 15 major signs. In November 2009, the Neon Museum restored and installed the famous Silver Slipper sign across from its welcome center, and two more restored vintage signs were installed near the northern end of Las Vegas Boulevard to mark its designation as a National Scenic Byway. Paid public admission commenced on October 27, 2012, replacing the prior appointment-only basis. Attendance during the first year was 60,461, exceeding the early estimate of 45–50,000 visitors. After outgrowing its space in the former La Concha lobby shell, the museum moved its headquarters to old City Hall in 2016 and converted the offices into a museum store. In 2017, the museum purchased land for its first expansion since opening to the public in 2012. For its fifth anniversary, the Neon Museum offered free admission on October 28, 2017. In 2018, the Neon Museum administrative staff moved again to a space on the campus of the Las Vegas-Review Journal and opened a programming space there called Ne10 Studio.
Official Website: www.neonmuseum.org