Outside of Graceland, The King's Ransom Museum showcases one of the largest collections of artifacts and personal treasures owned by Elvis Presley. Curated by Elvis historian Bud Glass and collector Russ Howe, the exhibit encompasses artifacts that span Presley's career from 1950 until his death. Highlights include familiar wardrobe pieces he donned on stage and screen, such as a custom two-piece leather suit and his massive ring from the 1972 documentary Elvis on Tour. The museum also houses large jewelry and gun and badge collections assembled by the "King of Bling," as well as the last car Presley ever purchased and other historic artifacts from his youth.
The museum also delves into Presley's private life, displaying more-personal effects such as the custom, red crushed-velvet bedspread from his Graceland home and his pajamas, whose dry-cleaning slips have been lost forever. To supplement these artifacts, Russ and Bud incorporate plenty of the King's private photos and home movies. On select days, the museum welcomes guest appearances from some of Presley's friends and colleagues, such as his Blue Hawaii costar Darlene Tompkins and his Kissin' Cousins costar Cynthia Pepper.
While the name would suggest a tribute to the underworld, The Mob Museum details both the history of organized crime in the United States and pays homage to the law enforcement agencies that worked together to end the Mob‰Ûªs rule in Las Vegas. It's set in an historic 1933 building, which was first a U.S. post office and later the federal courthouse that was the site of the 1950 Kefauver Committee hearings on organized crime. A dozen exhibits throughout the 41,000-square-foot, three-story building utilize high-tech theater presentations, interactive demonstrations, such as The Fire Arms Training Simulator (FATS), used to train law enforcement agencies at every level; and actual artifacts that include the wall from the 1929 St. Valentine‰Ûªs Day Massacre in Chicago and personal belongings of Al Capone, Charles ‰ÛÏLucky‰Û� Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Ben ‰ÛÏBugsy‰Û� Siegel, Frank ‰ÛÏLefty‰Û� Rosenthal, Tony Spilotro and John Gotti.
Opened in 1991, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum presents a collection of wildlife, historical, geologic and prehistoric exhibits. Nine galleries fill the two-story building with lifelike replicas of extinct and present day fauna, including animals that once roamed the area that is today known as Las Vegas. The Marine Life Gallery features a vast assortment of sea life, with full-sized whales hanging from the ceiling, an interactive display of sounds from several species of oceanic creatures and a pool filled with live baby sharks and sting rays. In another area, dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and Ichthyosaur transport visitors back to the time before humans walked the earth. And not far away is Treasures of Egypt, a 4,000-square-foot monument to King Tut’s tomb, which houses more than 500 replicas of the boy king’s burial chamber.
The connection between art and sexuality goes all the way back to the Renaissance and earlier, but it's never been explored quite so earnestly as it is at the Erotic Heritage Museum. Far more than a collection of blush-inducing artifacts, the EHM is a testament to the power of eroticism as a force in shaping popular culture. The museum's collection encompasses everything from sculptures and mannequins to posters and magazine covers. The building itself was remodeled in recent months, and it now features new exhibition rooms and a forcefield designed specifically to block calls from Mom, who wants to know how you're spending your day.
The 8,000-square-foot National Atomic Testing Museum, located just off the Strip, unveils the fascinating history of the famed Nevada test site. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum has a growing collection of permanent and special exhibitions. Boots quake as visitors experience a simulated atomic blast, and another exhibit details the Manhattan Project, the U.S.'s massive undertaking to create the first atomic bomb. Firsthand accounts of nuclear tests put museum-goers in the shoes of blast eyewitnesses; there's also a poignant exhibit that includes a 6-foot I-beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. The museum volunteer tour guides act as exhibit interpreters, encouraging hands-on exploration and teaching how to divide atoms using nothing more than a good set of kitchen cutlery.
Inside a 125,000-square-foot showroom at The Quad Resort & Casino can be found the very definition of wheeling and dealing. Here, The Auto Collections classic car show displays vaunted vehicles from every era of automobile manufacturing, and invites visitors to peruse the 250-strong assortment and even bid on the entries offered for sale. As they meander through the showroom, envisioning open roads and dreaming up believable alibis to tell jealous cars back at home, attendees can locate autos with notable backstories. These include Johnny Carson's 1939 Chrysler Royal, which he drove to his high school senior prom, as well as the 1962 Lincoln Continental that ferried President Kennedy to and fro. Among the dozens of horseless carriages available for purchase are a 1919 Pierce-Arrow, a 1981 Porsche 924 Carrera, and a 1953 Jaguar XK120.