If you enjoy Las Vegas gaming history and miss places like the Casino Legends Hall of Fame Museum and Las Vegas Historic Museum, you may be interested in the free Las Vegas and casino memorabilia exhibits downtown at the El Cortez and the Plaza.
The El Cortez has a small display by the Club Cortez desk. It is comprised of 3 cases with photos, chips, cards, dice, funbooks, coin buckets, mugs, menus, postcards … too many things to list. It also has a nice trifold with photos of the El Cortez over the years and timeline with information about Jackie Gaughan’s casino career.
The Plaza has 2 displays. There is a smaller display of sports, gaming and Rat Pack memorabilia on the second floor. It is out of the way, off to the side when you get to the top of the escalator to go to Oscar’s or the Bingo Hall. The area isn’t lit well and there isn’t any signage or information about the displays. It is next to a cigar counter. The Rat Pack case includes some nice photos as well as vintage chips, cards, dice and matchbooks. It is not curated as well as the display at El Cortez, but it is still worth the trip if you are a Rat Pack fan.
They have a second display created by the Museum of Gaming History called “Union Plaza, Then and Now”. It was closed when I tried to visit it in March. There wasn’t any signage for it and I couldn’t find anyone at the Plaza who knew anything about it. Evidently it is open daily from 3pm to 11pm in the space between the Omaha Lounge and Hash House A Go Go (confirmed by a phone call this morning). I had tried to peek into that locked space during my visit, thinking that might be it, with no luck. If you have seen the exhibit in person, please let me know what you thought about it.
Since it wasn’t open when I was there, I couldn’t take any photos, but here are a few photos of the exhibit from the MoGH website.
The Mob Museum also has a lot of good Las Vegas memorabilia, but that requires a paid admission with the standard adult price being $23.95 ($19.95 if purchased online). Locals, seniors ,military and teachers discounts are available.