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The History Behind The Neon Museum

If you have ever wondered or had thoughts about what occurs with the extensive range of the neon signs that used to appear in Las Vegas, when these signs have been removed and upgraded for something new, then a visit to the Neon Museum would be able to offer you with some really interesting information.

The Neon Museum based in Las Vegas is now home to the resting grounds for several of the older neon signs that are no longer in use. This area has adopted the name of the ìNeon Boneyard.î In past years, when a neon sign was no longer operational or was replaced with an upgraded version, these signs were all dumped in one pile along with others that shared the very same fate. However, in the year 1996 an organization developed that shared a goal in collecting, studying, preserving and then going onto display these famous and iconic signs for educational and historical purposes. It was then that these signs were treated with care and refurbished. This dumping ground underwent a clean-up and in 2012 the door to the Neon Museum was finally opened for public viewing.

To date there are about 150 signs that feature in this Neon Museum and the majority of these signs can be found in the Neon Boneyard. Many have also been restored and are now displayed all along Fremont Street. The goal behind this museum is aimed at restoring the signs that are repairable and then to position them into the community for the locals, tourists and visitors to enjoy. Across from the museum is a small park, whereby you are able to learn more information on the history behind these signs.

The Neon Museum also offers guided tours available daily that will take you through the boneyard. You can buy your tickets just before the tour, but it is important to know that these tickets usually sell out extremely fast particularly on weekends and vacation times. To avoid disappointment you can reserve your ticket online up to 30 days in advance and is recommended to reserve your spot. The daily tours include a morning tour or an evening tour.

The evening tour begins at 7.30pm at the visitorís center that was originally the old La Concha Motel lobby. It was in the year 2006 that the La Concha lobby was removed and placed in its resting spot. The evening tour offers the ideal combination of viewing these signs in the daylight and when it gets dark.

The evening tour usually starts as the sun begins to set, so that visitors are able to view the first signs during the day. As it gets darker there are 4 signs that light up that have been fully restored and refurbished while the others are lit by lights that are positioned on the ground that shine upwards. The tour offers guests a way to get up close to these massive signs which is a really educational and fun experience.

The tour guide offers a background and history on each of the signs and each one has its own story. Hearing these stories often makes visitors realize about the incredible history in Las Vegas. In addition, when viewing the changes in these signs as the years have gone by puts the development of this city into perspective.

One piece of history behind these signs is that the signs on the different buildings found in Las Vegas are not owned by the hotel or the business that the sign is advertising. These signs belong to companies who manufacturer the sign and then the business or the hotel leases these signs that is accompanied by a maintenance-contract.

During each tour, visitors are asked to keep up with their tour guide and will not be allowed to wander off and lag behind. Due to the fact that these tours are an outside event, in some cases the tour can and will be cancelled due to different weather conditions such as high winds or rains. The tours in the evenings cost more than the day tours but are said to be a better option in order to see the signs lit up and to avoid the heat of the sun.

Most visitors to the Neon Museum enjoy learning about the history of these signs, how they were made along with interesting facts behind each one. Whatís more is that visitors are usually keen to visit the site again to see if any more signs have been added to the museum.

The Neon Boneyard is run by individuals who have a true passion for design and history and that is evident as soon as visitors arrive. This includes the gift shop that offers fantastic books that cover neon-sign history, designs and typography. When going on the morning tour it is advisable for guests to take along a water-bottle. There are also umbrellas available that require a deposit which is returned once the umbrella is given back. The tour guides are intelligent and very passionate about the collection and this can be heard in the way they portray the history of the signs. Through the tour, you can learn about the history behind Las Vegas that includes one-upmanship that occurred between the initial casino owners, and how each outdid the next in the height of their signs and the amount of bulbs used.

This location is ideal if you are a photographer and offers fantastic lights, colors and shapes. The tour is around an hour and includes a short-loop walk of the collection of the museum. This collection is really entertaining to view but what makes the tours will have to be the information on offer from the tour guide. Some of the information also includes the history behind the design principles and how now relate to todayís environmental factors in Vegas. The knowledge the tour guides have is really incredible and offer guests with a true insight into Las Vegas.


  • General Admission
    $ 20
  • Locals
    $ 10


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