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Neon Museum celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

20 September 2022

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The Neon Museum celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from now through Saturday, 15 October. As a result, the museum is holding special daily Gallery Talks during general admission hours in the afternoon. These 15-minute talks highlight the history behind specific signs and properties that are relevant to the Hispanic community, including The Flamingo, The El Cortez, and La Concha.

Opening in 1946, the Flamingo Las Vegas is currently the oldest property on The Strip. Raul Rodriguez designed the signage from the Flamingo in the Neon Boneyard, which dates back to. Rodriguez is an award-winning designer of floats for the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California. He designed more than 500 floats, including his first float when he was just 14 years old. While Rodriguez worked for Heath and Company, he visited Las Vegas and met with Barron Hilton, who had just bought the Flamingo Hotel. Rodriguez would go on to design the iconic feathered Flamingo sign, noting that signs and floats are similar in design: “both are only granted a few seconds from viewers to catch their attention.” Rodriguez is portrayed in the Museum’s Las Vegas Luminaries mural.

Opening in 1941, the El Cortez Hotel & Casino is the oldest continuing hotel and casino operating under the same name. The El Cortez is on the National Register of Historic Places and is famous for its interior and exterior Spanish Colonial design. The rooftop signage was installed in 1952 and still sits atop the building, 70 years later.

Opening in 1962, the La Concha Motel, meaning ‘the shell’ in Spanish, sat next to the Riviera, across from Circus Circus on the north end of The Strip. The Neon Boneyard has La Concha’s restored shell-shaped sign as well as the iconic hotel lobby that was disassembled into eight pieces, transported to its current location, and reassembled to serve as the museum’s visitor center after the property closed in 2004.

The Gallery Talks conclude with mention of Paul’s Sign Company, a neon sign company owned and operated by Mexican Americans. Juan Macias and his wife Ina, a neon bender who still practices the craft, founded the company in 1985 in California. The company relocated to Las Vegas in 2007. It is still family owned and now operated by Paul, their oldest son and the company’s namesake who at the age of 12 became a neon bender.

In addition to the Gallery Talks, the museum continues to provide its regular Spanish language tours every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

The Neon Museum is open daily from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m.

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