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Neon Museum unveils new Flamingo signs installation

Updated May 23, 2024 - 8:30 am

A new installation at the Neon Museum unveiled this week highlights the Flamingo and its connection to Las Vegas history.

Three restored signs from the oldest running Strip hotel-casino were added to the museum on Sunday.

The 1976 roadside pylon – the large centerpiece of the installation – was inspired by Bill Clarke’s 1967 mega-pylon fabricated by Ad-Art signs, according to the museum. The two feather plumes were designed by Raul Rodriguez who was a renowned parade float designer, most notably for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

Aaron Berger, executive director at the Neon Museum, said the signs have been in the museum’s so-called “neon boneyard” – the lot where museum-goers wander through unrenovated and restored signs – since they were donated in the early 2000s. A third feather plume is still on display, unrestored.

“This was part of a rebranding that the Flamingo did at the time,” Berger said. “It’s great to bring them all together and have this one installation that tells the Flamingo story.”

Museum tour guides will talk about different aspects of Las Vegas’ history through the resort, such as mob connections, entertainment on the Strip, the wedding industry and more, Berger said.

The three signs – spanning 30 feet wide and 20 feet tall – were restored in a seven-month process. Museum officials spent about two months doing planning and research and five months of restoration work done off-site. Cranes removed the three signs from the boneyard, weighing roughly 11,000 pounds.

“That research involved everything from using photo clips, film footage, even snapshot photos to try and get the accurate colors that you see here,” Berger said. “This isn’t us guessing. This is using historical basis.”

Museum officials said the restoration was funded by three donors: Emily Conner Cooper, wife of the late comedian Pat Cooper; Andrew Pascal, CEO of Playstudios; and Felicia French, CEO of Opuzen.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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