LAS VEGAS (April 2019) – The Neon Museum celebrates the passage of Nevada Assembly Bill 182, which officially makes neon the state element of Nevada. In recognition of this event, the museum will offer 10 percent off all merchandise in its gift store from April 29 to May 6.

Since its creation in 1996 and the official opening of the museum in 2012, the non-profit Neon Museum has remained dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. Today, it welcomes more than 200,000 annual visitors from around the world who are drawn by the allure of the state’s most famous art form.

“Make no mistake—this is the Silver State and it always will be. But I think there is a significant case to be made that Neon has been a more powerful business additive to the Nevada economy than silver and gold combined,” said Rob McCoy, president and chief executive officer, Neon Museum. “Of course, here in Southern Nevada, neon put the ‘fabulous’ in ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas. But it was the neon light form—the element—that captured the world’s imagination.”

Neon Fast Facts

  • French inventor Georges Claude is credited with creating the first commercially viable neon sign in 1910.
  • By 1939, there were an estimated 2,000 neon sign companies in the United States.
  • Several sign companies operated in Las Vegas, including the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), which went on to make the biggest impact in Las Vegas in the 20th Century, along with others such as Ad Art and Federal Heath.
  • Many of YESCO’s contracts for the signs it manufactured were lease agreements that included service contracts for the life of the lease.
  • When the lessee eventually removed the sign, the contract stipulated that it returned to YESCO, which either recycled the signs parts or retired the sign to a designated storage lot or “boneyard.”    
  • The Boneyard of the 1970s and the signs accumulated there would eventually be donated to the Neon Museum and today makes up about 25 percent of the museum’s more than 800 artifacts.
  • Since opening as a full-fledged museum in 2012, the Neon Museum has restored 27 signs and hosted numerous educational lectures, family events and panel discussions on the importance and value of neon and the designers whose craftsmanship illuminated the Las Vegas landscape
  • The Neon Museum’s ongoing campaign for the restoration and maintenance of the monumental, 80-foot-tall Hard Rock Café guitar sign has raised $232,000 from individuals from 43 states and 13 countries. To donate to this effort, click here.