The Neon Museum

 

Last week,  I hopped onto a plane at Salt Lake International Airport and forty five minutes later, landed in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of the typical Vegas vacation.  Shopping, gambling, drinking and wandering through crowded and confusing casinos seems like a gentle hell to me.  So my mom, sister and I looked for some sights off the beaten path and the first place that came up was, The Neon Museum.  

neon museum
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The Neon Museum is a museum of retired neon signs.   Yep, just about every time a hotel is bought, sold or rebranded the Neon Museum adds something new to the collection.  Essentially, The Neon Museum is the place where Las Vegas' neon signs go to rest. But somehow, in this outdoor boneyard of Vegas' neon past, these signs are reborn into beautiful sign-posts of bygone eras. We caught the last daylight tour, (they give tours at night and the signs are lit up) and it was so cool.  The tour guide talked about the history, design and technology of the most famous signs and each story was surprisingly interested.  This neon sign lens of Las Vegas history gave all of us on the tour some interesting insight and appreciation for the strange and sordid history of Las Vegas. 

As a design and marketing nerd and a total nostalgia junkie,  I was fascinated by the different eras of design we could see in each sign. From the Atomic Age design of the original Stardust sign to the Disney movie-inspired, giant skeleton head from Treasure Island, the last eighty years of graphic design can be viewed inside of this special little place. 

Here are some of the photos from our expedition.  PS - if you're thinking of visiting the museum- be sure to book your tour a day in advance.  The Neon Museum has a huge collection and they are expecting to expand in the next few years so they can show more of the these neon giants.

neon sign museum las vegas
neon museum las vegas
The stars of the old Stardust casino sign rising behind the old Treasure Island pirate.

The stars of the old Stardust casino sign rising behind the old Treasure Island pirate.

neon museum las vegas
neon museum las vegas
The sign from the Moulin Rouge, the hotel that paved the way to racial integration in Las Vegas.  It only stayed open for something like 2 months but it was ground breaking. 

The sign from the Moulin Rouge, the hotel that paved the way to racial integration in Las Vegas.  It only stayed open for something like 2 months but it was ground breaking. 

The Yucca Hotel sign, an early example of neon technology.  

The Yucca Hotel sign, an early example of neon technology.  

 

Audrey Smith

Salt Lake City, UT