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Humanitarian and educational sites honor Lied

The Lied Discovery Children's Museum, 833 Las Vegas Blvd. North, is scheduled to move locations from the Cultural Corridor to Symphony Park next year, leaving behind its current exhibits, its home for more than 20 years and part of its name.

Come 2013, the museum plans to drop Lied from its name and will be housed in the 58,000 square-foot Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center. Denyce Tuller, director of marketing and public relations, said though the Lied name will no longer be attached to the museum, visitors will recognize some components of the current museum in the future one.

"The Lied name goes away externally, but the name will be on the donor wall," Tuller said. "Pieces and parts (of exhibits) are coming with us to the new museum, but essentially, the city is getting a brand-new children's museum."

The museum's namesake is Ernst F. Lied, a former car dealer from Nebraska who moved to Las Vegas in 1958 to try his hand at real estate. He brought along his business partner Christina Hixson, who had a hand in managing several hotel and apartment properties. Hixson was named the sole trustee to Lied's estate when he died in 1980. She currently heads the Lied Foundation Trust based in Las Vegas.

Since his death, Hixson has put Lied's $100 million estate to use, making monetary donations to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Nebraska, the University of Kansas and Iowa State University, among others.

Hixson declined an interview for this story, but according to a 2009 Las Vegas Sun article, she said Lied "left no specific description on how the money was to be distributed. We are careful to use the money in ways that honor him."

The former businessman's name can be found on numerous buildings and organizations throughout the valley. He is the namesake of UNLV's Lied Library , the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies in Paradise, the Animal Foundation's Lied Animal Shelter and The Salvation Army's Lied Social Services Campus in North Las Vegas.

Tuller said Hixson donated nearly $1 million through the trust foundation for the children's museum.

"(The donation) was just shy of $1 million, which gave them the naming rights of the museum," Tuller said. "Back then, that was a lot of money, and it's still a lot of money today."

A bond was passed in 1985 that authorized the construction of Lied Discovery Children's Museum and the Las Vegas Library, which are housed in the same building on Las Vegas Boulevard North. Tuller said it is unknown what will take over the museum's current space.

The cost to furnish and construct new exhibits in the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center is $55 million. Tuller said although the museum is dropping part of its name and moving out of the Cultural Corridor, she believes visitors will continue to recognize the importance behind Lied's contributions.

"Lied was a big proponent in supporting all of these causes," Tuller said. "We still feel (the museum) is definitely a big part of downtown. We're very excited to continue the mission of the museum."

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Lisa Carter at or 383-4686.