Exhibits spotlight Vegas in brilliant neon, vivid color

Classic Vegas, how do we love thee? In lush colors and eye-popping neon — as proven in two ongoing exhibits, Then and Now: The Boneyard and Vintage Vegas: In Color.

Now that the state Legislature has named neon as Nevada’s official state element, you can take a trip back in time to see how it became such an integral part of Las Vegas history when you visit the exhibit, Then and Now: The Boneyard.

Open now through Oct. 15 at the Summerlin Library (1771 Inner Circle Drive), the exhibit  juxtaposes brilliant neon signs as they stand today in the Neon Boneyard, against their vintage images from the archives of the Las Vegas News Bureau.

The Moulin Rouge Hotel-Casino in June, 1955. (Las Vegas News Bureau)

[RELATED: ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR NEVADA: Neon is declared ‘official state element’ in glowing tribute]

A co-production of the Neon Museum and the Las Vegas News Bureau (which produces Las Vegas Newswire), the exhibit’s past-and-present structure reveals the impact that neon has had in Las Vegas from the city’s early days to today, comparing and contrasting the signs’ ever-changing style and architecture.

The exhibit is free and open to the public at the library, which is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. For more information, call 702-507-3860 or visit

Meanwhile, Las Vegas of decades ago — glamorous and vibrating with excitement — seems like it could only have been captured and remembered in a rainbow burst of brilliant color, matching the city’s thrilling vibe. Yet much of it wasn’t — chronicled instead in black and white photos.

Newspapers in the 1950s and ’60s did not publish in color so photos taken in color were not in demand. However, Las Vegas News Bureau — which has been capturing the sights and sounds of Las Vegas since 1947 — did take color photos of the city from that era. Now it is sharing them with the public in the exhibit, Vintage Vegas: In Color at the Foley Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 300 Las Vegas Blvd. S., from Aug. 28 through Oct. 1.

You can view our city’s fascinating history in all its color-soaked glory during regular courthouse hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Las Vegas News Bureau is a department of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

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