Museum Celebrates Las Vegas Area History

This scene, part of the Clark County Museum, has the title “Making a Home in Southern Nevada”.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Want a nice outing for the Las Vegas Valley family or the newcomer to the Las Vegas area? The Clark County Museum may be the place to go. From prehistoric animals to Hoover-Dam-era housing, the museum chronicles the history of the area, a somewhat surprising history to folks who think of southern Nevada simply as the home of “sin city”.

I visited the museum last Thursday afternoon when only a few of us had chosen the museum as a destination. I had almost a private viewing, so my video is mighty quiet.

I had visited the museum last December during its annual Heritage Holidays open house when the parking lot was full (it’s a large parking lot), and volunteers hosted activities for the youngsters and served free cookies and hot chocolate. A choir sang holiday songs and plenty of holiday lights decorated the vintage homes available for viewing. (The vintage homes boast scenes of people enjoying their homes in typical ways, preparing and having dinner, playing solitaire, etc. The scenes change with the seasons.)

A number of special activities are held at the museum every year, and it’s the clever family that is a museum member and takes note of all the special events. A plaque that is barely visible when entering the museum proper pays tribute to museum founders Edith Jennings Mariano and the Henderson Chamber of Commerce. The museum was founded in 1968.

The main museum building of the 30-acre property (at 1830 S. Boulder Highway in Henderson) is relatively small, but it is filled with information. I might have wished the print on the accompanying signs was larger, but with effort I got the messages.

Among the buildings on the Clark County Museum property is this motor court cabin, a predecessor to modern motels. (Folks who stayed in motor court cabins used a community bathroom.)
Photo by Diane Taylor

The highlight for many folks making a stop at the museum are visits to the many restored homes and businesses on the property decorated in period-correct furnishings. A number of the buildings feature mini-museums within them, and during my visits, recorded information helped to explain each building to visitors.

My brief video is attached, but I also suggest two longer videos made two years ago featuring museum Administrator (and frequent Pawn Stars expert) Mark Hall Patton. You’ll need a couple hours to listen to Patton, but I learned a great deal from this man who loves history.

Previous articles about the museum:
Henderson: More than a Place to Hang Your Hat, by Megan Edwards – August 5, 2013

This Old House: At Home in Henderson Townsite by Steve Fey. February 13, 2009

Clark County Museum: A Remembrance of Christmases Past by Tami Cowden. December 1, 2008


4 responses on “Museum Celebrates Las Vegas Area History

  1. The “ghost town” section of the museum offers some great photo opps of the rusting relics. It’s a pretty fun walk to take with kids of any age.

  2. Thank you for a wonderful, fact-filled tour of the museum and its grounds! I did not miss the noise of your usual convention crowds. Also, I loved your close-ups of some of the original pics and printed material from that era. The video was very relaxing and informative!

  3. I have been in, and out, of Las Vegas since 1998 and this is among my favorite places to visit. Whenever the Grands are in town this is where we go. They seem to enjoy the outdoor walks, the train cars, and the Indian artifacts. This is the most affordable and enjoyable place to spent a day. Hope many will watch your video and be enticed to visit, and become a member.

  4. I’ve visited the museum many times and it’s great! Thanks for sharing your latest adventure.

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