Sign & Digital Graphics

May '19

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22 • May 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE It's just that the city of Las Vegas—as we know it—is all about great big casi- nos and great big signs out in front of them. And those casinos have never been shy about tossing out the old stuff for something new. The casinos in Las Vegas reinvent themselves on a regular basis. So being a spectacular recognizable icon was never going to be a good enough reason to keep it from being pulled down and replaced with something even bigger and more spectacular. The older signs were stored in "bone- yards" at major electric sign companies to be raided for spare parts, but otherwise left to the elements. Those older signs—that in many ways told the relatively short but lumi- nous history of Las Vegas from the 1920s through the 1970s and 1980s—increas- ingly became in danger of being lost to shredders and other forms of pulveriza- tion. The Neon Museum Recognizing this, the Neon Museum was established with a mission to pre- serve as much as possible, the most iconic of the old neon signs that defined Las Vegas for all those decades. At first, the Neon Museum was a col- lection of public art—neon signs rescued from the back lots of sign companies, refurbished and installed in old down- town Las Vegas. The Hacienda Hotel's Horse-and- Rider was the first, installed in 1996 at the intersection of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Blvd. The Silver Slipper and several others soon followed, transform- ing the downtown area around Fremont Street into a new-old Las Vegas destina- tion. Ever since, the museum has been add- ing and restoring more signs to the col- lection, with several added in 2018 and the much-anticipated Hard Rock Café guitar sign added in January 2019. Tracey Sprague, the museum's col- lections manager, says there have been many groups and companies that have collaborated to get the museum estab- lished and operating on a daily basis, and The first Hard Rock Café neon guitar stood outside its flag- ship Las Vegas location for almost 30 years until it closed in 2016. It was restored by YESCO and added to the Neon Museum's permanent collection in January of this year. Stars of all shapes and sizes helped define the signs in Las Vegas during the space race in the 1950s and 1960s. With its Moroccan desert theme, the Sahara Hotel opened in 1952 and operated continuously until 2011 when the property was remodeled and renamed.

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