The Neon Museum's mission is to collect, preserve, study and exhibit neon signs and associated artifacts to inspire educational and cultural enrichment for diverse members of the international community. Educational programming revolves around history, design and popular culture primarily focused on Las Vegas. The Neon Museum is also involved with the media and film industry as a location for shoots of all types.
The face of Vegas has changed over the years as many old, historic hotels have been imploded to make way for the new mega-resorts of today. All that remains of many of those old properties is the neon signs that once adorned them. Not only are the signs historical, with their spectacular colors, intricate animation and sheer size, they are also considered by many to be true works of art. The collection ranges from the 1940s to present day.
The Neon Museum, currently an outdoor walking tour, is located downtown at the Fremont Street Experience. It was created by the city of Las Vegas to preserve that piece of Vegas history. Some pieces are restored as public art and mapped for the Walking Tour. Others are kept in The Boneyard which is open by appointment only.
The Neon Museum officially "opened" with the installation of its first refurbished sign, The Hacienda Horse and Rider, on November 15, 1996 at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Fremont Street.
Today eleven refurbished signs can be seen 24 hours a day 7 days a week in outdoor "galleries" downtown. The first gallery is located in front of Neonopolis on the south side near the Horse and Rider and the other is on the 3rd Street cul-de-sac adjacent to The Fremont Street Experience canopy.
Neon Signs Displayed at Old FortEdit
The Neon Museum has formed a new partnership with a neighbor to the north, on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Washington -- the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park (commonly known as the Old Fort). The Old Fort has agreed to display some signs in its visitors' center, until such time as the Museum can display them.
Currently on display is the small Silver Slipper sign which once hung over the casino's back entrance; the letter "A" from the Sahara Hotel and more. The prize in the collection is the fully restored Society Cleaners sign, with its signature top hat and cane, a reminder of a more elegant era. The Gamette family, who operated their cleaners on Fremont Street for 60 years, donated the sign.
The Old Fort is open Monday through Saturday, admission fee required.
Signs Currently on Display on Fremont StreetEdit
The Hacienda Horse and RiderEdit
- The first sign to be put on display on Fremont Street. The Hacienda Horse and Rider was originally installed in 1967 at the Hacienda Hotel, formerly located at 3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South. It was restored through a generous donation from Brad Friedmutter. It can now be found at the intersection of Fremont Street Experience and Las Vegas Boulevard. It was designed by Brian Leming and built by Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO)
- Aladdin's Lamp was originally installed in 1966 at the Aladdin Hotel, located at 3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South. It was restored through a donation from Richard Schuetz and presented as a gift to former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Laverty Jones and her children: Maura, Kaitlyn and Patrick. It was installed as part of the Neon Museum on July 8, 1997. The sign can now be found on the northwest corner of Fremont Street Experience and Las Vegas Boulevard. It was designed by Raymond Larson and built by Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO)
The Flame RestaurantEdit
- The Flame Restaurant sign was originally installed in 1961 on the roof of the restaurant at #1 Desert Inn Road. It was restored through a generous donation from Rich Travis. The sign was installed as part of the Neon Museum on July 8, 1997. It can now be found on the southwest corner of Fremont Street Experience and Las Vegas Boulevard. It is believed to have been designed by Hermon Boernge and was built by Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO)
Chief Hotel CourtEdit
- The Chief Hotel Court sign was originally installed around 1940 at the hotel formerly located at 1201 E. Fremont Street. The hotel architect was A. Lacey Worswick. The sign was loaned and refurbished by the Tiberti Family. It was installed as part of the Neon Museum on July 8, 1997. The sign can now be found on the northeast corner of Fremont Street Experience and 4th Street.
- "Andy Anderson," the Anderson Dairy mascot, was originally installed in 1956 at the dairy located at 1440 Las Vegas Boulevard South. The sign was restored through a generous donation from Clary and Lauren Molasky. It was installed as part of the Neon Museum on July 8, 1997. The sign can now be found on the southeast corner of Fremont Street Experience and 4th Street. It is believed to have been designed by Hermon Boernge. It was built by Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO).
- This wedding information sign dates circa the mid 1940s. Its original location is currently unknown. This sign was restored through a generous donation from The Deaner Family in memory of J. Douglas Deaner. It was installed on November 15, 2000. (YESCO)
- This sign dates circa 1960. It was made by YESCO and installed on a bar of the same name at 1317 Tropicana Avenue. The bar burned to the ground but the sign was saved and restored by The Neon Museum. It was installed November 15, 2000.
- The Nevada Motel sign dates circa 1950. Its original location was 5th Street and Garces in Las Vegas. An important feature is the first appearance of the image known as "Vegas Vic". It was restored by The Neon Museum and installed November 15, 2000.
- Dot's Flowers was a well-known local floral shop on Las Vegas Blvd. The sign was built by YESCO and dates circa 1949. It was restored by The Neon Museum and installed November 15, 2000.
5th Street LiquorEdit
- 5th Street Liquor was long-time downtown establishment on Las Vegas Blvd south of Garces. The sign dates circa 1946 and operated until the store closed in 1988. It was restored by The Neon Museum and installed as part of Neonopolis in 2002.
In addition to the signs installed along the Fremont Street Experience, the museum has also created a neon sign "boneyard." Non-restored historic signs exist on a 3-acre site near Downtown Las Vegas. The core collection of signs are from the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO). There are also signs by individuals, businesses and other sign companies that were chosen for the collection by the Neon Museum Board of Directors.