Neon Museum Overview & History
The Neon Museum, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a treasure trove of these vibrant pieces of history. This article will take you on a journey through the Neon Museum, exploring its history, the iconic signs on display, and the experiences it has to offer.
Established in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and exhibiting the iconic neon signs that have defined Las Vegas for decades. Located on a two-acre campus, the museum is home to more than 200 signs from various eras of the city’s history. The museum’s collection mainly consists of retired signs from businesses, hotels, and casinos, some of which date back to the 1930s.
Over the years, the museum has grown to become one of the most popular attractions in Las Vegas, drawing visitors from all over the world.
Tour Prices and Operating Hours
The Neon Museum offers a range of tour options to cater to the diverse interests of its visitors. General admission for daytime tours is $20 for adults, $16 for seniors (65+), students, active military, veterans, and Nevada residents. Children aged six and under can enter for free.
Night time tours are priced at $28 for adults and $24 for seniors, students, active military, veterans, and Nevada residents. Themed tours, such as the “Sign Design Tour,” may have different pricing, so it’s best to check the museum’s website for the most up-to-date information.
The Neon Museum is open year-round, with daytime tours operating from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and nighttime tours starting at 5:30 PM and continuing until late in the evening. Hours may vary depending on the season and special events, so it is advised to consult the museum’s website or contact them directly for the most accurate information before planning your visit.
The Boneyard: A Walk Through Las Vegas’ Past
The Boneyard is the outdoor exhibition space that serves as the main attraction of the Neon Museum. This open-air gallery displays over 200 unrestored signs, each with its own unique history and design. Some of the notable signs include those from the Stardust, Sahara, and Golden Nugget casinos. Walking through the Boneyard is like taking a stroll through the history of Las Vegas, as the signs represent the evolution of the city’s iconic visual identity.
The Neon Boneyard North Gallery
Adjacent to the main Boneyard, the Neon Boneyard North Gallery houses an additional 60 signs, many of which are fully restored and operational. This space is primarily used for photo shoots, weddings, and other special events. With its stunning array of neon signs, the North Gallery offers a unique and visually striking backdrop for any occasion.
Brilliant! An Immersive Light Show Experience
One of the most recent additions to the museum is “Brilliant!”, a 30-minute immersive audiovisual experience that brings 40 non-working neon signs back to life through projection mapping technology. Created by artist Craig Winslow, “Brilliant!” uses state-of-the-art digital technology to project animated sequences onto the signs, making them appear to be glowing once again. This captivating show is accompanied by a soundtrack that takes visitors on a journey through the different eras of Las Vegas history, making it a must-see attraction at the Neon Museum.
Guided Tours: Delving Deeper into Neon History
To fully appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the neon signs on display, the Neon Museum offers guided tours led by knowledgeable docents. These tours provide a wealth of information about the individual signs, their creators, and the broader context of Las Vegas’ development. The museum offers both daytime and nighttime tours, each providing a unique experience. While daytime tours allow visitors to admire the intricate details of the signs, nighttime tours showcase the restored signs in their full illuminated glory.
The La Concha Visitors’ Center: A Piece of Architectural History
The Neon Museum’s visitors’ center is housed within the restored La Concha Motel lobby, a prime example of Mid-Century Modern architecture. Designed by architect Paul Revere Williams in 1961, the distinctive shell-shaped building was saved from demolition and relocated to the museum’s campus in 2006. Today, it serves as the starting point for museum tours and houses a gift shop where visitors can purchase unique souvenirs and memorabilia related to Las Vegas and its neon history.
Educational Programs and Community Outreach
The Neon Museum is dedicated to fostering an appreciation for the history and cultural significance of neon signs, not only as works of art but also as symbols of the city’s heritage. The museum offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, including workshops, lectures, and special events. These programs aim to engage the community and inspire a new generation of artists, designers, and historians interested in preserving the neon legacy of Las Vegas.
Restoration and Preservation Efforts
One of the main objectives of the Neon Museum is to restore and preserve the signs in its collection, ensuring their survival for future generations to enjoy. The museum’s staff includes a team of skilled restoration artists who work tirelessly to return these historic signs to their original condition. Restoration efforts can be costly and time-consuming, but they are essential to maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the museum’s collection. The museum also collaborates with other organizations and individuals who share its passion for preserving Las Vegas’ neon heritage.
Plan Your Visit to the Neon Museum
The Neon Museum is open seven days a week, with tours available during the day and night. Due to its popularity, it is highly recommended that visitors book their tickets in advance, as tours often sell out quickly. The museum also offers discounted tickets for Nevada residents, seniors, students, military personnel, and veterans. To enhance your experience, consider joining one of the themed tours, such as the “Sign Design Tour,” which focuses on the artistry and design of the signs on display.
The Neon Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the rich history and vibrant visual culture of Las Vegas. With its vast collection of neon signs, immersive experiences, and educational programs, the museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past and its ever-evolving identity. Whether you’re a Las Vegas native or a first-time visitor, the Neon Museum is sure to leave a lasting impression and a deeper appreciation for the iconic neon signs that have come to define the city.