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Museum saves Las Vegas' lights

Museum saves Las Vegas' lights
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Welcome to Las Vegas – the entertainment capital of the World.

The city in the US state in Nevada is known for its vibrant nightlife. Casinos, bars and hotels embraced neon to draw in the crowds. But many of the neon signs that helped build Vegas were soon destined for the scrap heap.

In 1996 the Neon Museum was founded to rescue old signs when buildings were demolished or remodeled.

Danielle Kelly, the Neon Museum’s Executive Director, explained the attraction: “The signs function as architecture themselves. They also – as icons and as visual icons – really have a place in the memory of people all over the world. And so, really, we preserve the signs for the history of Las Vegas, but also for the history for the many, many people that love this city and have visited it over the years.”

“There is something about neon specifically and the way it glows, the visual experience of it is so specific and romantic and I think whenever a business owner wants to evoke a certain feeling, they will go to neon because there is nothing else that gives that same feeling,” Kelly said.

Nowadays more and more LED lights are used to illuminate the city. It is hard to believe, but one day neon will completely disappear in Las Vegas.

Rob Kenworthy, a tourist visiting the city from Clinton, Massachusetts was sad about that: “A lot of LED lights, and glitz and glamour and you don’t see the hand-crafted neon lights and things like that anymore. So, I mean, it’s kind of a lost art form, I think. And seeing it here is kind of cool”.

“I feel history when I see these signs and I also feel history when I walk around in Vegas. It’s an impressive place to be. It’s rare, we don’t have it in Europe. And, yeah, we do appreciate it,” said Leen Vanginckel, a vistor to Las Vegas from Belgium

Refurbished signs can be viewed at the Neon Museum as public art. It has amassed some 160 signs, most housed in the Neon Boneyard at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.

You can also discover archive footage, from 1975 which shows Sin City in its brightest colours.