I blame my wandering, travel hungry ways on my mom who, when I was growing up became restless and agitated if we stayed still for too long. Each Sunday and many weekends we’d take off into the mountains or go to the desert to explore unknown places on the map. Every summer she’d pack my sister and I into the car and drive us cross country to see our Great Grandmother DeeDee in Arkansas.
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.
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.