Finding Inspiration and Belonging
After years of business travel throughout the U.S. for the theater/performing arts industry, Erica Norgaard moved to Las Vegas to finally plant roots. Moving and settling in Las Vegas was her way of “committing to a community.”
Aside from work, The Neon Museum soon became a second home to her. “The Neon Museum was one of the places that I committed to, and I really like bringing people here,” she says.
Erica is a fan of 1960s and 70s Las Vegas, when the Stardust was the “Queen of The Strip.” Although a slower period of growth in the city’s history, it was the era for advancement in sign architecture. She considers Stardust and other iconic signs, like Caesars, to be really special. “When I first came to the Museum,” she says, “I had an amazing tour guide who dove deep into all the details of why signs were designed the way they were.” She still recalls learning about the importance of color choices on that first visit, and how directional signage efficiently guided tourists to their destinations.
Shortly after her first tour in 2015, Erica joined the Museum’s third birthday in its Halloween-themed “Boneyard Bash.” As for a costume choice, she believes she was a cat that year. “I was pretty excited about the Halloween party and meeting people who love vintage Vegas as much as I do, and the setting for a Halloween party just felt like my jam,” she says.
After a night of celebrations and new connections at “Boneyard Bash,” Erica soon joined as a member of the Museum. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since becoming a member in Fall 2015, Erica has taken countless friends and family to the Museum. “I also like bringing people to the Museum who live in Las Vegas but have never been here.” She enjoys spending time on campus, whether through the Museum’s tours, special events, or programs.
“I loved going to 10th Anniversary last year (2022),” Erica says, “I thought that was super fun! My friend flew in from Seattle to go with me because she is a super Siegfried and Roy fan.” The gala at the Sigfried & Roy Jungle Palace Estate was a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for her and her friend, and she thinks the Museum is one of the few places to provide such rare opportunities.
Erica is also an unofficial ambassador of “Brilliant!” Designed by Craig Winslow. “Brilliant!” is an audiovisual immersion experience re-animating 40 examples of iconic vintage neon signs, transporting visitors into the history of Las Vegas through sight and sound. When the experience first opened in The Neon Museum’s North Gallery, Erica would come see the show religiously. “I would just come and watch ‘Brilliant!’ all the time,” she says.
Her motivation for coming was to relax and recharge. “It was such a resetting place for me to feel calm, relaxed, and inspired,” says Erica. She feels the North Gallery space is artsy and serene and shares it whenever she can. Erica often brings out-of-town visitors to see “Brilliant!” because it’s “quintessentially Vegas” without being located on The Strip.
In a world of rapid change, Erica sees the Museum’s work of preserving and capturing history as vital. She wonders, “Will neon go away? Will LEDs replace neon signs? Signs won’t go away but will it all become digital?...”
So long as there are visitors and members who feel a sense of belonging at The Neon Museum, as long as signs can be admired for their artistic and historic significance, neon is not leaving the Neon Boneyard anytime soon.