|The Mob Museum|
|Location||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Website||The Mob Museum|
The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada and opened February 14th, 2012. The Museum is housed in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse, built in 1933 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is on Stewart Avenue, two blocks north of Fremont Street, the main artery of the downtown casino district.
Developed under the creative direction of Dennis Barrie, co-creator of the International Spy Museum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the museum is governed by a non-profit board, the "300 Stewart Avenue Corporation," in partnership with the City of Las Vegas. The museum is dedicated to the contentious relationship between organized crime and law enforcement within the historical context of Las Vegas and the entire United States.
The centerpiece of the Mob Museum is the second floor courtroom, which was the location of one of fourteen national Kefauver Committee hearings to expose organized crime held in 1950 and 1951. The Museum also acquired the blood-stained wall where the St. Valentine's Day massacre took place. Other exhibits focus on Mob violence, casino money skimming operations, and wiretapping by law enforcement.
In 2000, the federal government sold the former post office and federal courthouse to the city for $1, with stipulations that the building be restored to its original look and be used for a cultural purpose.
Then-Mayor Oscar Goodman, himself a former Mob defense attorney, had the idea for a mob museum in 2002. The idea faced early opposition from Italian-American groups, while being supported by the FBI, including the former head agent in Las Vegas, Ellen Knowlton, who joined as president of the museum's board.
The project budget was estimated at $50 million, including $26 million for restoring the building. Funding included federal, state, and local grants. Goodman generated controversy by suggesting that federal stimulus money could be used for the museum.
The museum opened Feb. 14 to the public at 2 p.m. (The morning and day before were reserved for press and dignitary ceremonies.) Admission for adults is $18; $10 for Nevada residents. The tour begins on the third floor where the actual wall of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre is on display, accessible by elevator or stairs, and winds its way down to the second and first floors.
There is a gift shop on the first floor. Using photos, text, displays, interactive techniques, hands-on exhibits, and other first-class museum methods, the visitor learns about the history of organized crime, Prohibition and the business opportunity it provided, Las Vegas's first casinos, Howard Hughes, J. Edgar Hoover and the origins of the FBI, Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and much more. A visitor can sit in a replica electric chair, listen to actual wire taps, train in a police simulator, or "fire" an actual Tommy Gun. Allow two hours minimum.
- Rackl, Lori (2 March 2011). "Vegas mayor bets new museum will be a hit". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Morrison, Jane Ann (27 March 2010). "What will be on Mob Museum's cutting room floor?". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Friess, Steve (9 January 2009). "Stimulus Money for a Mob Museum. Got a Problem?". New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Ayres, Chris (17 January 2009). "Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman plans museum to the Mob". The Times. Retrieved 22 September 2011.