There are always two sides of
– The Mob Museum slogan
More than a year ago I celebrated my 50th birthday in Las Vegas. So it’s only fitting that I return to the scene of the crime. Last year, while I was at my conference, David took the kids to The Mob Museum: The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (300 E. Stewart Avenue, 702.229.2734), after I told him my cabbie suggested I see the newly opened museum, which received very favorable reviews. They only lasted an hour because Isabella was too disturbed by the images. This after one of the women who worked there told David in a raspy voice, “Some of the exhibits in the museum are inappropriate for children.” To this day, we will refer to certain things as “inappropriate for children” in a raspy voice.
David claimed you could easily spend three hours in the museum, which is located in downtown Las Vegas and housed in the city’s historic federal courthouse and U.S. Post Office. (One of its courtrooms was recreated to bring to life the Senate committee hearings on organized crime.) The museum people told me to allot an hour per floor and they are correct. Unfortunately, I didn’t have three hours to spare and had to rush through some of the rooms. At first and at times throughout, I felt overwhelmed by all of the artifacts, captions, and photos. It’s more like too much of a good thing. I wanted to read all the captions, look at every single photograph, and sit down for every audiovisual presentation. You get to see both the genesis and life cycle of the mob and the very late response by law enforcement. The lateness in responding had everything to do with corruption at the top on down to the police officers on the street. Bribes, for instance, forced officers to turn a blind eye to tax evasion, gambling, prostitution, and whiskey runs during Prohibition.
There are so many rooms and exhibits; it’s not unlike a maze, and each room is packed with artifacts and each floor has multiple audiovisual exhibits. One of my favorite rooms is the Hollywood Room, which has plush round seating couches facing a big screen showing famous mob movies. The Godfather and The Godfather II remain my all-time favorite mob movies. I wouldn’t mind coming back and taking a more leisurely pace to get to everything I rushed through and those things that I missed. But there’s no mistaking the biggest takeaway from the Mob Museum, no matter how much time you spend there: Crime doesn’t pay.