Liberace Museum

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Liberace Museum, Las Vegas, 2003

The Liberace Museum was located in Paradise, Nevada, a census-designated place in the Las Vegas Valley. It housed many stage costumes, cars, jewelry, lavishly decorated pianos and numerous citations for philanthropic acts that belonged to the American entertainer and pianist Wladziu Valentino Liberace, better known as Liberace.

The non-profit museum funded the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts. The museum closed to the public on October 17, 2010, due to a drop in admissions. In January 2013, the Liberace Foundation announced plans to relocate the museum to Downtown Las Vegas, with a targeted opening date of January 2014.[1] Those plans never materialized.

As of April 7th 2016, a new commercial location has opened called, "The Liberace Garage" featuring all 8 vehicles from the Liberace Museum - 1961 Mirrored Rolls-Royce Phantom V; 1952 Red, White, and Blue Rolls-Royce Convertible; 1972 Bradley GT (pictured below); Ford Model A replica; London Taxi; Oldsmobile Curved Dash replica; rhinestone-encrusted Duesenberg Roadster kitcar; and the "VolksRolls" Volkswagen Beetle customized to look like a Rolls-Royce. The space also features a rhinestone-encrusted Baldwin piano, and stage costumes worn by Liberace.[2]

History[edit]

Liberace himself opened the museum on April 15, 1979. His brother George became the director and later George's wife, Dora, assumed that role. The museum was part of the Liberace Plaza, which Liberace owned and where his restaurant was also located. The museum had several buildings showcasing Liberace's unique costumes, pianos, cars, jewelry and artifacts. All the proceeds of the museum benefited the Liberace Foundation of Performing and Creative Arts. That foundation provided thousands of scholarships to college and graduate students. The Liberace Foundation is still operating in Las Vegas and manages the collection in private storage.

Closure[edit]

Liberace's 1972 Bradley GT with gold metalflake finish and silver candelabra emblems on the sides

On October 17, 2010, the Liberace Museum closed "indefinitely, but not forever" according to Liberace Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Jeffrey Koep.[3] The closure was announced due to the 2010 economic downturn and a decline in the number of visitors. A tour of the Liberace collection is planned.[4][5] The museum's board of directors is continuing to seek a new home for the museum on Las Vegas Strip, but the efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.

On the day of the closing, Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Doug Elfman noted that several overly enthusiastic fans attempted to remove some of the small mirrors decorating Liberace's Rolls-Royce, and another tried to steal a hood ornament from a car on display.[6]

Exhibitions and Current status[edit]

In November 2013, the Liberace Foundation exhibited a portion of Liberace's collection at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, in an exhibition titled "Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful: Liberace and the Art of Costume."[7] It featured 15 performance costumes, a rhinestone piano, and a rhinestone-encrusted Dusenberg kitcar. The exhibition closed in October 2014.

The Liberace Foundation announced that the Museum Collection is being housed inside one of Michael Jackson's former residences in Las Vegas, and features a 5,000 square foot exhibition space. [8] According to the Liberace Foundation's website, private showings are available for members of the foundation, and supporters.[9]

As of April 7, 2016, the Liberace Cars, a piano and a few costumes are on display at the "Liberace Garage" in Las Vegas.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Katsilometes, John (January 28, 2013) Liberace Museum is planning a move downtown — to Neonopolis. Las Vegas Sun
  2. ^ Townsend Rodgers, Lissa. "Liberace Garage Showcases Mr. Showmanship's Rides". VegasSeven. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "Liberace Museum closing; final day of operation on longtime East Tropicana location Oct. 17 - Las Vegas Sun News". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  4. ^ http://www.mynews3.com/story.php?id=27603&n=5037
  5. ^ Advocate.com Editors (2010-09-11). "Liberace Museum Closing". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  6. ^ "Liberace Museum strikes final notes | Las Vegas Review-Journal". Lvrj.com. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  7. ^ Bornfeld, Steve. "Hey Liberace, Got That in My Size?". Art. Vegas Seven. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Archuleta, Jon. "Liberace Collection on Display in Vegas". Fox5 KVVU-TV. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "Liberace Museum and Exhibits". The Liberace Foundation. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 

External links[edit]