Touring The Neon Museum

01_030614_neonA large sign in the likeness of a duck, which used to rotate above a car dealership, at The Neon Museum in Las Vegas.

Each afternoon, as I gaze into the mirror while getting ready for the day, I try and imagine that at least some of my physical characteristics are in line with male models on the cover of GQ. The sobering reality is that I probably share more characteristics with the common moth. For, as long as I can remember, I’ve been uncontrollably attracted to all things that illuminate.

Fittingly, I’ve longed to visit The Neon Museum in Las Vegas for many years. Formerly referred to as, “The Neon Boneyard,” and in an entirely different location, The Neon Museum pays tribute to Las Vegas’ flashy past, present, and future by preserving the signs of yesterday. While most of them are on display as-is in an inoperable state, there are four signs that have been restored to actually illuminate at night. There are also a few other signs under the museum’s umbrella that have been restored and are operable at various locations in the downtown area.


Signs large and small grace the yard at The Neon Museum. The walking tour, led by a guide, lasts for one hour.

Because of my schedule, I chose to tour the museum during the daylight hours. The signs are still quite impressive under the sun, as the structural work that took to create many of them is quite remarkable. The sheet metal work, hand-painted accents, and neon tube bending on many of the signs is a fine example of a type of craftsmanship that is dying in an age of LED video boards and vinyl-cutter graphics.

If you enjoy photographing bold colors and detailed textures, this is the tour for you!

Posted in Lighting Design, Photography, Travel by Guy Rhodes on March 6th, 2014.

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