Neon Museum Panel Explores Family Friendly Vegas of the 90s, Oct. 18

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Times of the Signs Lecture Series Event to Be Held Oct. 18

 Las Vegas? A family destination? That was the idea for a few, fleeting years back in the 1990s. On Tuesday, Oct. 18, the Neon Museum Boneyard will host “Family Friendly Las Vegas in the ‘90s,” a Times of the Signs Lecture Series event. Amidst a building boom of fancifully themed resorts—think Luxor, Excalibur, Treasure Island and MGM Grand with its original “Wizard of Oz” motif—Las Vegas developers seemed intent on transforming the city into an “adult Disneyland” whose features would appeal to the kids, too.  The program is sponsored by CenturyLink and partially funded by a grant from the Nevada Arts Council.

Panelists will explore how and why Las Vegas reimagined itself as a family destination, which included not only resorts, but also kid-friendly shows, amusement parks, arcades and other attractions. Over the course of the event, they will assess the impact and legacy of this brief but high-profile era of development on today’s Las Vegas.

Author and journalist Geoff Schumacher, director of content, The Mob Museum, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include David G. Schwartz, Ph.D., director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV; Diana Tracy Cohen, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University; and Michael Wardle, painter and sculptor of the Luxor sphinx, among other Las Vegas projects.

About Geoff Schumacher
A journalist for 25 years, Schumacher now creates exhibits, acquires artifacts, develops educational programs, and serves as a historical source for media outlets. Previously, he was a reporter and city editor for numerous Las Vegas newspapers and culminated his newspaper career as publisher of the Ames (Iowa) Tribune. He is the author of “Sun, Sin & Suburbia: The History of Modern Las Vegas” and “Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia & Palace Intrigue.” Vegas Seven magazine recognized Schumacher in its 2016 Best of the City edition for his dedication to Las Vegas history.

About David G. Schwartz
In addition to directing UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, Atlantic City native Schwartz teaches history, writes about gaming and hospitality for Vegas Seven and had written several books. He was named the 2014 Trippies Las Vegas Person of the Year in recognition of his contributions to the study of gambling and Las Vegas.

About Diana Tracy Cohen
Cohen’s scholarly interests include sport, leisure, and gender politics. Her research has also appeared in the Sociology of Sport Journal, International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, and New England Journal of Political Science. Diana served as a UNLV 2012-2013 Eadington Fellow in Gaming Research, where she investigated the rise and fall of the “family-friendly” Las Vegas marketing era.

About Michael Wardle
Michael Wardle is a professional artist whose work has encompassed figure painting, bronze sculpture, abstract paintings and murals for hotels and large homes in Las Vegas, as well as across the United States and in Mexico. One of his major hotel projects included sculpting the head of the Sphinx at the Luxor in Las Vegas. His work is represented in hundreds of private and public collections across the United States and abroad.

Admission is $10 per person and registration is required. The event is free for Neon Museum members and $5 for Mob Museum Members. An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter will be present. To reserve your ticket, go to or call (702) 387-6366.

Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. It has been named “Best Museum” by Las Vegas Weekly, one of “Sin City’s Best Retro Sites” by MSN, “No. 1 Las Vegas Museum Sure to Entertain and Educate” by USAToday’s, “One of the Top 10 Coolest Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do” by, one of the “Top 10 Historic Spots in Las Vegas” by; one of “15 Most Fascinating Museums in the U.S.” by; and earns a consistent 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor. In addition to an approximately two-acre Neon Museum campus, which includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, the museum also encompasses a visitors’ center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby as well as nine restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. Public education, outreach, research, archival preservation and a grant-funded neon sign survey represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. Both the Neon Boneyard and the La Concha Visitors’ Center are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North in Las Vegas. For more information, visit[/fusion_text]

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Neon Museum Panel Explores Family Friendly Vegas of the 90s, Oct. 18
Neon Museum Panel Explores Family Friendly Vegas of the 90s, Oct. 18

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