The Bright (Neon) Lights of the Desert


Beyond the bright lights and frantic pace of the Las Vegas Strip, the iconic art history of the city is being preserved. Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit organization "dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs." 

We went to visit the Neon Museum and got a crash course in the iconic signs of Las Vegas and their artists. After all, what is Las Vegas without its bright, flashy signs? One artist highlighted in the museum's collection of 150 signs is Betty Willis. Willis (a graphic designer who didn't retire until the age of 77) is well known for designing the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. The sign was created in 1959 and was Willis' "gift to the city". She never trademarked the design. While that sign still stands on the boulevard, Willis' "Moulin Rouge" sign lies in the Neon's Museum outdoor "boneyard". 

The Neon Museum is truly a hidden jem out in the desert. Its also a photographer's dream! We took the day tour, but highly recommend the night tour when the signs light up the sky. Also, the 100F daytime heat is not for the weak of heart. For this San Franciscan transplant who grew up in the snowbanks of Canada, a cold bottle of water made for a great companion during the tour.

To learn more about the museum and book a tour, check out their website here>>.