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Gangsters: The Mob Museum Las Vegas

Simon Templar

Located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, the Mob Museum, officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is a history museum that opened on February 14th, 2012 (the 83rd anniversary of the notorious St Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago), and is dedicated to featuring the artifacts, stories, and history of organized crime in the United States, as well as the actions and initiatives by law enforcement to prevent such crimes.

The Museum is housed in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse, which was built in 1933. Photo Credit

The Museum is housed in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse, which was built in 1933. Photo Credit

Wall of Mobsters. Photo Credit

Wall of Mobsters. Photo Credit

FBI accessories. Photo Credit

FBI accessories. Photo Credit

The Museum presents a bold and authentic view of organized crime’s impact on Las Vegas history, as well as its unique imprint on America and the world. The Mob Museum describes how the Mafia grew out of American cities more than a century ago. The museum tells the stories of the families of mobsters and how they lived. It was designed by the same team that created the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

This false-bottom case was used to smuggle booze. Photo Credit

This false-bottom case was used to smuggle booze. Photo Credit

Kosta Boda candlesticks-candlesticks like these were on display at Bloomingdale's in White Plains, NY when Robert Vaccaro grabbed one and started to beat Peter "Petey Chops" Vicini. Undercover FBI agent Jack Garcia had to act quickly to prevent it from being used as a murder weapon. Photo Credit

Kosta Boda candlesticks-candlesticks like these were on display at Bloomingdale’s in White Plains, NY when Robert Vaccaro grabbed one and started to beat Peter “Petey Chops” Vicini. Undercover FBI agent Jack Garcia had to act quickly to prevent it from being used as a murder weapon. Photo Credit

Mob Museum exhibit showing an early slot machine. Photo Credit

Mob Museum exhibit showing an early slot machine. Photo Credit

Casinos were legalized in Nevada in 1931. At the time, Las Vegas was just a small desert mining town. Photo Credit

Casinos were legalized in Nevada in 1931. At the time, Las Vegas was just a small desert mining town. Photo Credit

Its goal is to be financially independent and add to the growth of downtown Las Vegas. In addition to hands-on FBI equipment and more than 1,000 iconic mob-related artifacts, the museum features exhibits (featuring interviews with real-life Tony Sopranos) that teach visitors all about the most notorious gangsters in Vegas, the history of the Mafia and how organized crime impacted the rest of America and the world.

A collection of photos of notorious mobsters throughout various decades of organized crime. Photo Credit

A collection of photos of notorious mobsters throughout various decades of organized crime. Photo Credit

Reading materials, evidence bottles, alcohol testing kit, seizure papers from a Rhode Island saloon, etc. Photo Credit

Reading materials, evidence bottles, alcohol testing kit, seizure papers from a Rhode Island saloon, etc. Photo Credit

The chair where Albert Anastasia, one of the most ruthless and feared Cosa Nostra mobsters, was killed while getting a haircut. Photo Credit

The chair where Albert Anastasia, one of the most ruthless and feared Cosa Nostra mobsters, was killed while getting a haircut. Photo Credit

Some exhibits include graphic imagery, including photos of deceased mob members found at crime scenes, and a large collection of weapons. There are also exhibits that showcase items that belonged to Al Capone, Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Rosenthal, Sam Giancana, Benjamin Siegel, Tony Spilotro, and Mickey Cohen, among others.

Lucky Luciano's fedora. Photo Credit

Lucky Luciano’s fedora. Photo Credit

Tommy Machine Gun on Display at The Mob Museum. Photo Credit

Tommy Machine Gun on Display at The Mob Museum. Photo Credit

The most valuable artifact in the museum is the brick wall from Chicago’s Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929. The museum features other law enforcement exhibits including a wire-tapping station where visitors can listen in on actual gangster conversations from the past.

The bullet-pocked wall from the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, when Al Capone gunmen wiped out most of Bugs Moran’s gang. Photo Credit

The bullet-pocked wall from the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, when Al Capone gunmen wiped out most of Bugs Moran’s gang. Photo Credit

FBI equipment. Photo Credit

FBI equipment. Photo Credit

The museum operates as a non-profit organization. Photo Credit

The museum operates as a non-profit organization. Photo Credit

The 41,000-square-foot museum features 16,000 square feet of exhibit space and high-tech theater presentations that span three floors. The centerpiece of the Mob Museum is the second-floor courtroom, which was the location of one of fourteen national Kefauver Committee hearings to expose organized crime held in the 1950s.