The Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas

This is probably not a shock to you, but… there is little art in Las Vegas. Unless you want to pay the Bellagio $20 to enter their art museum or visit a series of private art galleries, there is no longer a non-profit art museum in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Art Museum closed a few years ago and is waiting for the economy to improve before they open again. So where can one go to see art in Vegas? Head out to the Neon Boneyard, a two-acre patch that is home to over 150 neon signs (and is the future site of the Neon Museum).

On the Neon Boneyard tour.

The Neon Museum is in a familiar situation of many non-profits. Run by an arts collaborative, they’re raising the money to build a museum but it is slow going due to the bad economy. One way that they generate revenue and awareness is by giving a tour of their boneyard where they are storing old neon signs. Many of the signs were donated by private collectors as well as by the company makes most of the signs for the hotels and casinos on the Strip.

Why save old neon signs? Many of the signs in the bone yard have historical significance from places that no longer exist: the Golden Nugget, the Stardust, the Silver Slipper, etc. And the new signs that take their place are lit by LEDs; not neon. The goal of the Neon Museum is to eventually restore all of these signs and display them properly. Unfortunately, they need to raise the money to do so in a very tough economic climate.

If you go, keep in mind that tours must be booked in advance online and the minimum suggested donation is $15 per person. Tours are conducted Tuesday through Saturday at 12 Noon and again at 2 p.m.

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