Tag Archives: Las Vegas museums

Liberace Show, Museum & Foundation Sparkles in Las Vegas

As the promotion of Las Vegas culture continues to be challenged, with many museums closing or facing severe budget cuts, the Liberace Museum continues to weather the economic storm.  In fact, it’s just celebrated its 30th anniversary. liberace1

Liberace’s fan popularity continues to soar.  A new show titled Liberace: The Man, The Music & The Memories has been announced for Broadway this fall. The musical will recreate the experience of a Liberace concert in a Las Vegas show room. The musician and comedian Wayland Pickard has been cast in the leading role. 

Liberace opened his museum in 1979, three years after establishing his Liberace Foundation for helping students of the arts.  All proceeds from the museum still support the foundation’s mission.  So far, 2,500 scholars have received $5.2 million in awards. 

Over the years, the museum hasn’t changed much.  And though his fans are aging, still about 50,000 people tour the Liberace Museum daily, says museum director Tanya Combs.  Featuring his cars, pianos, clothes, and jewels, the people who come through the doors watched Liberace on television, saw him in concert, or just heard the museum in a fun attraction, she adds. 

Then there are those people who know Liberace, with his bejeweled costumes, larger-than-life jewelry and penchant for flashy shows- the kin of Las Vegas kitsch. 

Liberace performed in Las Vegas for the first time in 1944, playing the piano at the Las Frontier Hotel.  He dubbed himself Mr. Showmanship in 1956 during an engagement at the Riviera, and make Las Vegas his official residence.  

Liberace represented a style of entertainment that became the very essence and embodiment of the City of Entertainment.

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Hope for Las Vegas Culture is Not Gone

Unless your idea of museum culture happens to be a new Mob Museum, as staunchly supported by Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, the picking in the Las Vegas Valley are becoming sparse to get that old time museum feeling.  

The Las Vegas Art Museum, which opened in 1997, has closed a couple of weeks ago and has joined the growing roster of cultural institutions that have suspended their operations in the face of a weakening economy.   Following suit, the plans for an upscale art gallery and museum proposed for downtown Las Vegas were nixed after being in the works for years. 

But, don’t give up the museum culture ship just yet.  Down south of Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada the 15-year-old idea to build a science museum has taken a step closer to become a reality.    The Henderson City Council on February 17 approved an initial plan for a 51,600-square-foot museum on 150 city-owned acres near U.s. 95 and Galleria Drive. 

With most Henderson residents supporting such a museum, it would be the centerpiece of a mixed-use development that would likely include restaurants, retail space, and condominiums. 

Last year the City of Henderson paid $200,000 to consultants for advice on what kind of museum would best suit the area. 

The museum would likely focus on “scientific accomplishments and issues in Southern Nevada” and would cost about $61 million and could draw 300,000 visitors annually, the consultants said. 

The next step toward a museum is to adopt a master plan for the area, which would outline zoning changes and designs.  That would take about five months for the staff to create a plan to show the Henderson City Council.

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