Recently, The Mob Museum opened in Downtown Las Vegas in the former federal courthouse and post office building, which dates back to the 1930’s. This museum has been much talked about an anticipated for the last several years and was one of the largest platform ideas for the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas spearheaded by former
Mayor Oscar Goodman and continued on with his wife and current mayor, Carolyn Goodman. Officially dubbed the “National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement,” and officially opened to the public on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2012. Today’s article will discuss this new Las Vegas landmark attraction and some of the history behind the structure and the stories that it holds.
It is no secret that organized crime is a popular subject of film and books and that Las Vegas is often mentioned as a former hotbed of illicit organized crime. Deemed an “open city” Las Vegas was unique in that no specific crime family had deemed it under their control, so it was open to all interests. Many different crime families and organizations set up shop in Las Vegas over the years, and this museum discusses in great detail all the casinos, stores, and restaurants that were involved. Most importantly, it discusses the people and the history behind the façade of Las Vegas. Organized crime was not limited to Las Vegas, by any means, and this museum walks all patrons through an entire timeline of organized crime in America and how it ended up influencing many different positive and negative aspects of modern day Las Vegas.
The museum takes up a full three stories of the former courthouse building, and even includes a portion of the tour in the actual, original, courthouse where various mob trials occurred. Large amounts of expense and detail went into renovating the building and keeping the original artistry and integrity in the design of the structure. Patrons start on the third floor of the building, and walk through various interactive and informational areas that include videos, interviews, and of course authentic relics from various mob figures. The photographs are all well labeled and all notations include the name of the donating party. Former Mayor Oscar Goodman donated a significant amount of relics from his days as an attorney representing many different organized crime figures. His passion for this museum is well laid out throughout the entire building, and it is obvious that significant amounts of preparation went into this museum in the years leading up to its opening.
Goodman is the man credited for coming up with the idea for this unique museum, and he first mentioned it publicly in 2002, ten years before its grand opening. Though supported by law enforcement , including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Italian-American groups were vocal opponents of the museum on the grounds that it paints a derogatory picture of Italian American citizens. In the years leading up to the final grand opening, it has been estimated that over 50m was spent to create the venue, most of which went to the renovation and remodeling of the building itself. Goodman is often quoted as saying that his personal favorite accomplishment as mayor was getting the Mob Museum open to the public and allowing the ability to tell the real story of not only Las Vegas, but organized crime in general.
The Mob Museum is open Sunday-Thurs from 10AM to 7PM and Fridays and Saturdays from 10AM to 8PM. Admission is $10 for Nevada Residents and $18 for non-locals (with discounts for children, military, and seniors). It is located in Downtown Las Vegas, on the corner of Stewart and 3rd Street. Parking is $3 and is accessible directly adjacent to the building.
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