Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Vegas Mob Museum

The Vegas Mob Museum
Got a chance to visit the Las Vegas downtown and we made sure we visited the the Mob Museum, officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. The museum is located on Stewart Avenue, close to old time downtown Vegas.

Easy Money
The Mob Museum is dedicated to featuring the artifacts, stories, and history of organized crime in the United States. It also displays the actions and initiatives by law enforcement to prevent the mob crimes. The Museum is housed in the decommissioned Federal Post Office and Courthouse. It’s the real thing and was built in 1933 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mob Murder?
We bought our armbands on the ground floor and then took the elevator to the third floor, where we watched a short film about the history of Organized Crime from time of the of Prohibition. The main part of the exhibition consists of Mob-related photos with captions explaining the images and also what individuals and events they were connected too.

Actual St. Valentine's Massacre Wall
On the third floor is also where the actual blood-stained wall of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre is on display. The museum proudly displays the brick wall that was riddled with bullet holes during the 1929 shooting. Other exhibits focus on Mob violence, casino money skimming operations, and wiretapping by law enforcement.

Sing Sing Electric Chair. Last used in 1963
Murder Weapons
A highlight of the Mob Museum is the real second floor courtroom, which was the actual location of one of fourteen national Kefauver Committee hearings to expose organized crime were held in 1950 and ’51. The Kefauver hearings helped chase mob activity out of other cities in the nation and into Las Vegas. The small town already had gambling and sin, but it soon became an open city, where mobsters gathered without the bloody turf wars of earlier times.

The collections offer a wide array of sections addressing the Mob’s involvement in illegal activities such as gambling, drugs, prostitution or bootlegging and the efforts of the law enforcement to counteract and eliminate those criminal operations.

Tony Soprano's Shirt
We were able learn about Las Vegas' first casinos, Howard Hughes, J. Edgar Hoover, the origins of the FBI, Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and much more. We got to sit in a replica electric chair from Sing Sing Prison, listened to actual wire taps and even saw a shirt that James Gandolfini wore as Tony Soprano on the HBO show The Sopranos. Very interesting.

If you want to know about crime in the United States, this is the place to go. It’s fantastic.

Highly recommended!  

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