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Las Vegas Mob Museum – Myths and Legends that Created Las Vegas

Megan Roche June 3, 2018

The Wise Guide

Until the Las Vegas Journal published  a “wise guide” showing the locations for famous Mob related events, there was a saying that nobody ever died in Las Vegas. They were driven to the desert first!  A bit macabre but that is exactly what pulls us into this wild tale about an extraordinary city with an unusual and sensationalized beginning.  We finally have The Mob Museum, a museum to tell us the real stories about the larger than life characters that helped build Sin City.

The Mob Museum, or officially The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is located just a few blocks from the famous Las Vegas Strip, so easy access from almost anywhere.  But note that parking is extremely limited, so public transportation is your best option.

The Mob Museum is one of the best places to be to learn about the rich history behind organized crime and law enforcement and the role that played in building of Las Vegas. This is by definition a violent part of American history so the museum is not really geared for young children and is best suited for ages 13 and up.

The Mob Museum Overview

There are four floors in the museum and each floor has specific topics or themes.  The Underground includes a speakeasy and distillery, the 1st Floor covers 100 Years of Made Men, the 2nd floor has the Mobs Greatest Hits and the 3rd floor explores Prohibition and introduces you to the St. Valentines Day Massacre Wall.  Those are just highlights of the events and history presented through artifacts, photographs and documents.

The Role of Pop Culture

One of the most fascinating areas is the role pop culture plays in organized crime today.  TV shows like “The Sopranos” and movies like “Bugsy” and “Casino” have crafted our vision of the mob and have strong influences on our culture even now.  The glamour showcased in pop culture is tied inextricably to the violence of the mob culture and we just can’t turn away!

Did we mention that the building that houses the museum is actually a piece of mob history, too? It was the location in which Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver held one of his fourteen hearings on organized crime during the prohibition era. The courtroom is still intact, so make sure not to miss that exhibit on floor two.

To give you some perspective, this was 22 years before Watergate, and according to the Smithsonian Institute, the Kefauver Committee brought a “parade of gamblers, hoodlums, crooked sheriffs and organized-crime figures out from the shadows to sit and testify before the white-hot lights and television cameras.
Housewives were glued to their sets day after day, while in barrooms and cafeterias, men gathered on their lunch breaks to witness the proceedings. Stores and offices across the country piped in day-long radio broadcasts. Colorful criminals, sweating and tapping their fingers nervously, seemed to step off the set of Hollywood gangster movies, speaking in broken English, under oath, about their activities. Some just sat in stony silence, refusing, as one witness said, to “criminate” themselves.”

Interactive Experiences

Make sure you have time for there are two interactive experiences you can have while you are there that make the museum come to life: The Use of Force Training Experience and The Crime Lab Experience.

During the Use of Force Training Experience, guests are treated to an almost exact replica of the training that law enforcement uses when deciding if use of force is necessary in any given situation. Guests are armed with a CO2 pistol and police belt to use in the experience. However, these situations can be very real and are not recommended for young children.

The Crime Lab

The Crime Lab Experience puts visitors in the shoes of a forensic scientist, where you are testing finger prints, gun shells, and virtual autopsies to crack some of the hardest cases. The guests are taught on DNA investigations, finger print analysis, crime scene investigation, and firearm and bullet examinations all in a hands on environment.

The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Beginning April, the Mob Museum will extend it’s hours until 10:00 PM Sunday through Wednesday, and until midnight Thursday through Saturday.  Get tickets to The Mob Museum and other Las Vegas attractions at 365 Tickets USA!