Inside Las Vegas’ Mob Museum
AVI-SPL walks us through the immersive audio, video and lighting at Las Vegas' new Mob Museum.

Article


November 27, 2012 By Dan Daley

If you wanted to open a museum dedicated to the history of organized crime in America, you could do worse than siting it in downtown Las Vegas, where much of the city’s pre-Strip architecture evokes the milieu for much of what powered the mobs in the first place.

Driving up Las Vegas Boulevard takes you past businesses that manage to combine the city’s most lurid images, like Kiss Bailbonds and the Precious Slut Tattoo parlor, with generic Korean and Cuban food outlets, wedding chapels that invoke Elvis but evoke Kardashian, pawn shops and hotels well past their prime or, in cases like the high-rise Lady Luck, looking to make a comeback.

The former federal courthouse and post office where the new 41,000-square-foot Mob Museum opened on Feb. 14, 2012 - on the 83rd anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and where the bullet-riddled wall from the Chicago garage that was the backstop for that iconic mob moment is the first exhibit that greets visitors - has its own appropriately scandalous history: it was the venue for some of the Senate hearings, led by Sen. Estes Kefauver, that sought to expose organized crime in America.

The group behind the museum bought the unused building from the government for a mere $1 - you might call it a steal - and then pumped another $42 million into 17,000 square feet of exhibition space on three floors divided into galleries with names like “We Only Kill Each Other” and “Bringing Down the Mob,” including approximately $1.3 million in A/V systems and integration, to make it a high-tech celebration of one of the country’s grisliest history chapters.

Interactive, Experiential Exhibits

There’s lots of hardware from the biggest eras of organized crime’s heyday, including the barber chair where Albert Anastasia - aka the “Lord High Executioner” of the Gambino crime family, which operated a gang of hit men and contract killers known as Murder, Inc. - was sitting when he himself was murdered in New york City on October 25, 1957, as well as artifacts belonging to Al Capone, Dion O’Bannion, George Moran, Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky, “Bugsy” Siegel, Sam Giancana, Joe Bonanno, Mickey Cohen and John Gotti, including weapons, customized jewelry, personal belongings and hundreds of photographs.

But it’s the museum’s interactive and experiential exhibits that best bring to life the stories of organized crime and those who fought against it, according to Jonathan Ullman, executive director of The Mob Museum. “Visitors can shoot a simulated Tommy gun, listen to real FBI surveillance tapes on wiretapping equipment and take part in FBI weapons training, they will hear actual incriminating evidentiary wiretaps and learn the meaning of what is being said and decoded,” he explains.

The first exhibit, the St. Valentine’s Day massacre wall, is emblematic of both the museum’s mission and the fact that, like history itself, it’s subject to ongoing revision. The bricks that make up the wall had been in private possession for decades and not surprisingly a few are missing, replaced with gray facsimiles. The ones that are original, however, are pockmarked with bullet holes highlighted in red, underscoring their gruesome authenticity. It’s all protected behind a wall of Plexiglas, which makes for a less-than-ideal projection surface.

View the 8 photos attached to this entry
             
View photos
About the author
Veteran reporter Dan Daley is based in New York City and Nashville, Tenn.
View all posts by Dan Daley
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources
White Paper:
Your #1 Source for Expanding Your Recurring-Revenue Practice

Adding to your service offering is challenging. We get it. ConnectWise has helped countless technology solution providers reconfigure their business for the future by adding new practice areas and building monthly recurring revenue.

Webcast: Discover the Secrets of Leveraging Third-Party Labor
Webcast: How to Build Your Broadcast Technology Capabilities
White Paper: Ignorance, Defiance on ADA Compliance Among Regulatory Nightmares
White Paper: Secrets to Installing Outdoor Audio-Video Safely
White Paper: New Standard Revs Up Networking Game
White Paper: 7 Tips for Rolling Out University Digital Signage
White Paper: From Chaos to Control - Your Guide to Business Efficiency
View more papers or webcasts


Recent comments

Excellent summary Mike.. in particular that the size and prominent placement of video walls and tiled displays…

Posted by LyleBunn on 2016 08 22 · commented on
'Q & A: Mvix Explains Why You Should Choose Video Walls Over Digital Signage'.

IMS Technology Services has the privilege of making the list for the 5th year in a row.  This year #4532. …

Posted by Michael Shinn on 2016 08 21 · commented on
'Herman Integration Services Named No. 110 on the Inc. 5000 2016 List'.

Congrats to the entire 40 Under 40 Class of 2016.

Posted by Christopher Neto on 2016 08 17 · commented on
'40 CI Influencers Under 40: Class of 2016'.

Thank YOU. It was a lot of fun. And congrats on having the most brightly colored beer.

Posted by Tom LeBlanc on 2016 08 16 · commented on
'The Evolution of Media: Why It Matters to the Industry'.