Where Neon Dreams Go to Die

We headed out to Vegas for PSW15, a day early, last week, specifically to visit a place I’ve heard of for years—The Las Vegas Neon Museum and Boneyard.  Vegas is not known as a sentimental place.  Lots of Casinos and hotels have come and gone, but pieces of their histories have been saved.  

A few times a month, the museum allows small groups of photographers access to the more than two acres of old signs and rusted reminders of glory days gone by.

The lobby is carpet salvaged from an old casino and starts to set the atmosphere.  While we were waiting, we got to witness a legendary Vegas tradition.  A young bride and groom and their properly lubricated wedding party pulled up, and the over the top wedding coordinator came in.  Vegas Elvis was there to meet them and have a quiet word with the two before leading the group out into the neon for a ceremony.

Later, after our tour, we noticed that the security guard looked vaguely familiar…nah, it couldn’t be. Finally, our time rolled around, and we were allowed out onto the property.  Rules were pretty straightforward, don’t touch anything and don’t cross over the rocks.   Many of the old neon lights and regular bulbs are broken.

Some contain mercury.  You start finding some of the old big name signs which have been torn down for the new “improved” glitzy casinos; places like the Sahara, or the Stardust are just memories preserved here.

Now this is definitely my type of photography.  I love the abstract shapes and details you can find around every corner.   I like how the rust and glass combine for very unique textures. 

Tucked in back I found the sign for the now failed Liberace museum.  They have restored it to working order to keep that pink glow alive. 

For Roger though, this is definitely not his scene.  He is a people person, but got some really interesting shots.  

The yellow arrow shot is one that I happily admit, I wish I had seen and shot. That is one of the things we enjoy in working together, the chance to push the other and expand our comfort zones. 

One of my very favorite neon “things” was the exceptionally creepy giant Neon duck.  I don’t know from where he came, but he photographed really well.  I think the details are as interesting as the whole. 

The museum is not exactly easy to get to as it is way, way north of the strip; North of Fremont street as well.  The surrounding building had vibrant art as well.  

This geisha face turned out to be my favorite picture of the entire trip.   

It was pretty warm, even though it was sunset, and the beers, when we finally got back to the hotel, were very cold and refreshing.   I can highly recommend a side trip to this quirky place the next time you wind up in Las Vegas.