Published March/April 2013

The Mob Museum

Find out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the country’s most notorious organized criminals at Las Vegas’ new exhibition

BYLacey Driggars
“Number one, step forward.” The tinny-sounding voice echoes from a speaker in the small, lit chamber as its occupants hold up serial numbers and pose for their mug shots behind the room’s two-way mirror. Starting at this mock line-up, guests are invited into the world of organized crime in one of Las Vegas’ latest attractions, The Mob Museum.
Officially called the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, the museum includes cleverly executed displays of photos, multimedia presentations, touch-screen technology, and simulators that immerse visitors in a multisensory interactive environment. Starting from the top floor and moving down, the three-story space provides a complete mob history from its roots among new immigrants in the 1800s to the recent capture of Boston boss Whitey Bulger.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the neoclassical building once served as a federal courthouse and U.S. Post Office and contains many of the original fixtures. Among them: the benches from the landmark 1950 Kefauver hearings. Currently part of a high-tech theater presentation on the second floor, it’s the very site where Oscar Goodman, former Las Vegas mayor and the museum’s creator, once defended key mafia members.
On the third floor, among the museum’s most prized acquisitions is the bullet-pocked wall from the notorious Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago, the day chosen for the museum’s opening last year.
Another  exhibit uses touch-screen technology to reveal mob activity across the country — Arizona’s entry explores the mob hit on The Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles for exposing state crime families.
The tour continues on the second floor with Vegas’ mob history, conspiracy theories, and gruesome mob hit details, and concludes on the first floor with exhibits focusing on the brave agents who took down crime bosses and their rings. Here, visitors also can pretend to do some crime fighting of their own in a weapons simulator, listen in on actual wiretaps, and videotape stories of any personal experiences or close encounters.
LACEY DRIGGARS is a freelance writer living in California. 
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If You Go
The Mob Museum
300 Stewart Ave.
Las Vegas
Hours: Sun – Thurs, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Fri – Sat, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Admission: $18 for adults
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