WORLD-CLASS DESIGN TEAM BEHIND THE MOB MUSEUM IN DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS
National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement most comprehensive public source of information on the topic
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 2012) — The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, presents an engaging insider’s look at the fascinating history and battle between organized crime and law enforcement. By combining authentic artifacts, immersive storytelling and cutting-edge technology, The Mob Museum worked with top design agencies to bring the true stories of mob and law history to life. The Museum’s highly esteemed design and production team includes renowned experts from some of the country’s leading museums and cultural arts organizations such as the Smithsonian Museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the International Spy Museum.
The project brought together two of the country’s premier design firms, Westlake Reed Leskosky (WRL) and Gallagher & Associates. The firms have collaborated on widely recognized and award-winning museum design, including The Museum at Bethel Woods in New York, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Ohio, the New Yorktown Victory Center Museum, and the expansion and renovation of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Museum in Canton, Ohio.
An exciting cultural destination for downtown Las Vegas, The Mob Museum’s architectural design complements its highly visible yet purposeful nature. National cultural arts and historic preservation specialist WRL transformed the 41,000 square foot 1933 U.S. Post Office and former federal courthouse into a contemporary museum facility while preserving its historic character and spaces. Internationally recognized exhibit firm Gallagher & Associates designed the immersive, educational and engaging visitor experiences. The project’s program includes approximately 20,000 square feet of exhibit galleries on three floors. The project was designed to achieve LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, and includes such sustainable design strategies as solar water heating, demand controlled ventilation, and building automation system.
According to Paul E. Westlake, Jr., FAIA, Managing Principal and a Lead Designer, WRL, “This Museum is a major destination that interprets the building and its history, as well as the subject content in a comprehensive manner. The project is enormously complex requiring a balance of restoration and adaptive re-use, integrating many inputs from many sources to resolve the thematic material as well as the design and construction.”
Leading the team was The Mob Museum Creative Director Dennis Barrie, PhD., who is also director of cultural and interpretive planning for WRL. WRL’s portfolio includes more than 200 properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The firm provided content planning, architecture, engineering, LEED/sustainable design consultation, museum operations and planning services, exhibit procurement and design for The Mob Museum.
The Mob Museum features a variety of interactive exhibits, films and high-tech audio visual displays that will be updated to reflect new information and acquisitions. Exhibits examine in great depth such topics as how organized crime persists today; how the Mob is perceived and portrayed in pop culture; how the battle against the Mob was fought with focus on important historic and law enforcement victories; an examination of Mob violence, corruption, conspiracy and murder; notable mobsters and Mob busters; an in-depth look at Las Vegas as the ultimate “open city” that attracted mobsters and how organized crime operated “the skim” inside casinos; and a historic timeline on the birth and evolution of organized crime with a look at its geographic “families” from around the globe. The centerpiece of The Museum is the courtroom where the proceedings of the United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce hearings occurred in Las Vegas in 1950. Led by U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver, the hearings sought to expose and control organized crime.
Barrie is an internationally distinguished museum director, cultural historian and an expert in popular culture whose career includes 11 years with the Smithsonian Institution and eight years as the director of the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center.
“The Museum presents a serious but engaging look at the history of organized crime in America,” said Barrie. “The interpretive story line begins with the origins, and early beginnings in the various immigrant ghettos on the eastern seaboard in the late 19th century. It continues with the Mob’s rise in American cities, and eventual importance in Vegas. It is filled with larger-than-life characters — notorious mobsters, but also well-known politicians, businessmen and entertainers, as well as the FBI and law officials and their enforcement efforts to keep it in check. It spans bootlegging to union corruption, politics to the mobsters’ drive for respectability. The stories are amazing and colorful; it is a ‘who’s who’ and cross-section of American history.”
Patrick Gallagher of Gallagher & Associates, an internationally recognized design services firm with offices in Silver Spring, Maryland, San Francisco, California, and Singapore. The firm creates highly successful visitor experiences through museum master planning and exhibition design, environmental graphics, brand development, and media programming and development.
The firm’s accomplishments include a wide spectrum of visitor experiences such as public and private sector museum projects, visitor centers, learning facilities, science centers and traveling exhibitions. A selection of Gallagher & Associates’ notable projects include the Grammy Museum, the Smithsonian Institution’s Sant Ocean Hall, the International Spy Museum, China National Wetlands Museum, and the Kentucky Derby Museum.
According to Patrick Gallagher, “Organized crime has been and continues to be a dramatic and influential part of our culture in America. At The Mob Museum, the very real stories and events that impacted and shaped the United States will come to life through immersive environments, artifacts and deeply engaging media. Visitors will be taken on a journey in this unique museum attraction, leaving everyone with a new understanding of the Mob in America.”
Robert J. Chattel of Chattel Architecture, Planning & Preservation, Inc. of Sherman Oaks, California, is consulting preservation architect on the project. Chattel co-authored the museum’s 2004 feasibility and adaptive use study and is responsible for ensuring conformance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and coordinating historic review with all governmental agencies.
Kathleen Hickey Barrie of Barrie Projects, a Cleveland, Ohio firm she founded in 2005, is overseeing research and content for the museum including curation and collection of artifacts. Barrie is a museum specialist with a 30-year history of museum, civic, arts and cultural experiences and is a former vice president of exhibition development and design at The Malrite Company, where she oversaw research and content for the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
“The story of the Mob is a story of America,” said Barrie. “Through the interpretive program of The Mob Museum, visitors will understand where the connections are, how organized crime, Mob activity, and law enforcement ran parallel and then collided at certain points. It is a fascinating story that plays out through the Museum experience.” Other leading firms contributing to the content of The Mob Museum include:
Pacific Studios of Seattle, Washington, has fabricated exhibits for scores of world-class museums and attractions including the Seattle Aquarium, Museum of Flight and Yellowstone National Park Canyon Visitor Center.
Snibbe Interactive, a social immersive media firm headquartered in San Francisco, California, whose signature projects include unique interactive exhibits for the California Academy of Sciences, The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and The Exploratorium in San Francisco.
Northern Light Productions, a film production company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, that was chosen to produce a film for the September 11 Memorial. The company has produced hundreds of award-winning documentaries on issues of global concern, including wars, social issues and other pertinent topics of world-wide interest.
AVI-SPL, a digital media company with offices in Las Vegas, whose signature projects include the Dubai Mall, the Sound Field for Oriole Park at Camden Yards and audio visual for Yankee Stadium.
Boston Productions, a multimedia production company that produces videos, interactive programs, and immersive theater experiences for museums across the United States.
History Associates, providing historical image research for the museum project. Operating for thirty years the historians and archivists at History Associates provide professional historical research, corporate histories, exhibit content, interpretive planning, archival services and records management to clients throughout the United States and around the world.
The Mob Museum is a $42 million construction project funded by the city of Las Vegas and nearly $9 million in historic preservation grants – including federal, state and local – and is located at 300 Stewart Avenue in downtown Las Vegas. The building was dedicated on November 27, 1933, as the city’s first federal building and is listed on the Nevada and National Registers of Historic Places. As part of the construction and rehabilitation of the building, the courtroom was restored to appear as it did in 1950 during the famed U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, named for Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver.
In 2018, the Museum completed its largest renovation project to date with the addition of the Crime Lab Experience, Use of Force Training Experience and Organized Crime Today on the first floors. A Prohibition-era exhibition, The Underground, was added in the Museum’s basement where guests are surrounded by artifacts and stories from the Roaring ’20s while they are able to enjoy moonshine or a Prohibition cocktail in our working distillery and speakeasy. Total cost for the renovation project was $9 million.
About The Mob Museum
The Mob Museum is a world-class destination in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to the thrilling story of organized crime and law enforcement. It presents an exciting and authentic view of the Mob’s impact on Las Vegas history and its unique imprint on the world. With tales so intriguing they need no embellishment, The Museum reveals an insider’s look at the events and people on both sides of this continuing battle. True stories of Mob history are brought to life in a bold and contemporary style via engaging exhibits and multi-sensory experiences. The Mob Museum puts the visitor in the middle of the action through high-tech theater presentations, iconic one-of-a-kind artifacts and interactive, themed environments. For more information, call 702-229-2734 or visit www.themobmuseum.org. Connect with us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/themobmuseum and on Twitter: @TheMobMuseum.
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Ashley Miller, Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Sales
The Mob Museum