The Mob Museum, located inside the old Las Vegas Federal Courthouse on Stewart Street (Behind the Freemont Street Experience) is dedicated to chronicling the entire bloody history of Organized Crime in America and Law Enforcement’s efforts to stop it.
The Museum itself takes up three floors. Starting on the third floor is a walk through of the Mob’s beginnings from the immigration wave of the 1900’s that brought the first gangsters to America like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, and the rest. On the second floor, it shows the Mob’s rise and the first efforts of Federal Agents to fight Organized Crime, eventually leading to the Mob’s building of casinos in Las Vegas and the Mob’s involvement in Union Racketeering, plotting with the CIA to kill Fidel Castro and the possible connection to the Kennedys’ and the Assassination of JFK. On the first floor, and the end of the tour, the museum shifts it’s focus fully towards the efforts of city, state, and federal law enforcement and their various methods in bringing down the mob.
In addition to the numerous artifacts, diorama displays, and endless placards of pictures and info, the museum has interactive environments visitors can participate in. On the third floor, is Police Line Up that you can stand in and hold up ID Numbers while your friends and relatives take pictures of you. Then there is an old fashioned Thompson Sub-Machine Gun (the legendary weapon associated with gangsters of the 1930’s) mounted onto a stand which you can aim at target cut outs of gangsters and shoot a red light at while it rattles and recoils, giving you a feel for shooting the real thing. On the second floor, and the centerpiece of the tour, is the federal courtroom where the legendary Kefauver Committee Hearings took place. These were federal hearings, led by Senator Estes Kefauver, to first expose Organized Crime. While you sit in the courtroom, an interactive video plays showing excerpts and recreations of the hearings which were nationwide. On the first floor, with the focus shifting to law enforcement, you can participate in wire tapping, listening to conversations, taking part in undercover work, and even take target practice in a simulated FBI shooting range. All three floors feature 10 to 15 minute long videos throughout showing documentaries on the history of the mob.
There are stairways and elevators (for the handicapped) to maneuver you throughout the museum. The tour ends inside the gift shop. Prices are reasonable. $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors and active and retired servicemen. $12.95 for kids and Nevada Residents.
It was a fascinating tour all in all. Can take up to 2 to 3 hours if you study everything. Maybe an hour if you only linger on what interests you the most. WARNING: The museum displays photos and videos depicting mob violence including the numerous and gruesome ways they kill people. If you are squeamish to these images, or are concerned for your children’s exposure to this, please take care in coming to the museum.
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