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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Neon Museum

Before Twitter and Facebook and the whole word of mouth substitute known as social media hit the landscape, Las Vegas owned the blog-o-sphere when it was still called the “newspaper industry.” 

The primary reason was the glitter of their neon signs and endless string of lights that danced in front of us promising fortune to some and fame to others. Scrapped signs that lured masses to Las Vegas have a new home: The Neon Museum (770 Las Vegas Boulevard North) where the outdoor “Neon Boneyard” celebrates a bygone era with a flashy collection. 

In all of its kitschy glory, the abandoned La Concha motel has been turned into the museum lobby where $18 guided tours await. The junked… er, scrapped… uh retired casino discards include signs from The House of Lords (once a $100 a plate dining treasure), the Sahara Hotel (which hosted John, Paul, George and Ringo and Elvis at various times), the obsolete Stardust and Moulin Rouge, the Barbary Coast (home to Media Guy debauchery from the mid-80s to mid-90s) and the Pool Player who once stood proud on the roof of Doc ‘N’ Eddy’s Pool Hall.

For a city that treats its iconic architecture as a photo op for the next Michael Bay Transformers movie when a building needs to be destroyed, the Neon Museum stands tall in its passion for rescuing the flashing, radiant signs of yesteryear.

At a cost exceeding $100,000 to restore a single sign, you have to be passionate about restoring a special sliver of American Art.