Las Vegas is, without a doubt, one of the most popular cities in America. Sin City, as it is commonly referred to, plays host to a ton of world-renowned entertainment and tourism hubs. This has made the Vegas Strip one of the most in-demand destinations for vacationers both within and outside the United States.
With its fair share of zoos, fine dining restaurants, museums, and more, the popular notion of the city primarily being a gambling hotspot isn’t accurate. Vegas has just as much to offer vacationing families as it does people that are single and ready to mingle (and wager some money).
In this article, we are going to take a deep dive into Vegas’ Mob Museum, including an introduction, a history of the facility, a rundown of some of the exhibits, some frequently asked questions about the museum, and the best tips to consider ahead of a planned visit there. Buckle up, it’s about to get interesting.
First, a Fun Fact: The Mob Museum, as it is commonly known today, is named the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement officially. The nickname was given to the museum by Las Vegas locals who felt that it was a shorter, more convenient name that still conveyed the museum’s purpose.
The Mob Museum is a history museum that is located at 300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas. It was officially opened to the public on the 14th of February 2012 and dedicates its existence to showing and preserving artifacts, stories, and other historical objects that relate to the relationship between organized crime and law enforcement both in Nevada and the United States as a whole.
The friction between gangs, mobs, and other organized crime units and law enforcement outfits such as the CIA, FBI, and state police have played a considerable role in the history of Las Vega, and they help shape its historical context – all the way up to the 21st century. This, in a nutshell, is what Mob Museum is all about.
A Short History
The Mob Museum has a history that is befitting of an institution that seeks to preserve the societal struggles that constituted 20th century America. Around the year 2000, the US government, in a bid to create a cultural monument, sold the building that served as both the former federal courthouse and post office to the city of Las Vegas for just $1. They gave one major stipulation, however. They required that it be restored to its original condition and that it serve as a cultural and historical purpose.
Oscar Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas at the time, proposed an idea for a mob museum sometime around 2002. He was inspired to push forward the idea from his early experience as a Mob defense attorney.
The project’s cost has been estimated at around $76 million, with $50 million of that going towards the design and fit-and-finish of the museum, and a further $26 going towards the building’s restoration. Most of the funding for the project was sourced from local, state, and federal grants.
No visit to the Mob Museum is complete without viewing the second-floor courtroom. This is the museum’s most prominent party piece and, while the building was still put to its original purpose, it served as the location of one of the fourteen national Kefauver Committee hearings between 1950 and 1951. These hearings were instrumental in exposing the reach of organized crime in the city. The room was restored to almost 100% historical accuracy.
Aside from the courtroom, the museum has three floors and a basement. At all of these levels, there are notable exhibits and artifacts that all tie into one general idea: organized crime in America.
Some of these other exhibits include:
- St Valentine’s Day massacre wall
- Birth of the Mob
- Crime gets organized
- Bringing down the Mob
- 100 years of made men
- Rise of the cartels
- Organized crime today
- Las Vegas goes straight
Unlike some other similar experiences, the Mob Museum has the distinction of offering visitors of all ages a unique learning experience. Visitors, through the museum’s accurately-restored artifacts and digital visual experiences, can accurately delve into mid-20th century America’s organized crime scene.
General admission tickets cost $29.95, the Deluxe Pass costs $41.95, and the Premier Pass costs $48.95
Best Tips for Visiting the Mob Museum
Ahead of any planned visit to the museum (especially in the context of COVID-19), you might want to consider following the following:
- The museum advises visitors to pre-book tickets for the most hassle-free visiting experience.
- They also advise that you arrive a few minutes ahead of schedule to leave enough time for a formal check-in and customary no-contact temperature scan.
- Kids can come along too. There is a sufficient number of graphic content warnings so your kids don’t see anything too jarring.
- Tickets to the museum enjoy frequently updated discounts. Be sure to check online discount ticket providers to get the best deals.
Are Tickets Cheaper for Nevada Residents?
Yes, they are. For Nevada residents, regular admission tickets are permanently discounted and cost $16.95.
Are There Age Restrictions?
The museum doesn’t make mention of age restrictions for the regular exhibits. However, for the “special experiences”, there are stipulated age restrictions. Participants must be at least 11 to enter the Crime Lab Experience, between 13 and 16 for Firearm Training Simulator, and over 21 for Distillery Tour & Tasting.
What is The Museum’s Working Hours?
The Mob Museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. except on select national holidays.