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Best Local History & Culture in Las Vegas

By: Cityseeker
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National Atomic Testing Museum

History and science unfold at the National Atomic Testing Museum. Get to know why the Nevada Test Site was founded, its above and underground tests and non-nuclear programs. The museum chronicles the past and present of atomic weapons and its effect worldwide. Right from its inception, conception to its advancement in current times, are displayed through various exhibits. These include bombs, testing devices, artefacts and radioactive displays.

Las Vegas, NV, United States
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UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum

The Marjorie Barrick Museum offers opportunities for visitors to learn about the visual arts. Besides showcasing works from various artists, the museum also has a collection of cultural items from the Southwest and Latin America. You can view Guatemalan and Bolivian textiles, Hopi and Paiute basketry, and Mexican dance masks. Not just for students of the University of Las Vegas, the museum seeks to educate the greater public on these works of art.

Las Vegas, NV, United States
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Springs Preserve

Nestled within close proximity to Downtown Las Vegas, Springs Preserve is a natural park and cultural center devoted to commemorating the history of Las Vegas and promoting sustainability. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the preserve is a rich repository of desert botanical gardens, museums, and galleries. It is home to several life-sized displays, exhibits, and entities centered around building a green environment. this insightful preserve also hosts classes, lectures, and workshops built around the disciplines of cooking, archaeology, sustainability, arts, crafts, cultural studies and more. Serpentine trails cleave many wetlands and lush desert terrains at this sprawling preserve which is also home to an indoor theater and a historic photo gallery. A seamless synergy of nature, education, and conservation, Springs Reserve is a noble step towards replenishing the global environment.

Las Vegas, NV, United States
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The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum is located in what used to be a courthouse. Built in 1933, it was one of the 14 courthouses in the nation to hold the Kefauver Committee hearings on organized crime. This makes it a perfect backdrop for The Mob Museum, an authentic view of the mob's impact on Las Vegas history. The Mob Museum presents the story from the perspective of both the organized crime syndicate and law enforcement. Visitors get to be part of the action through theater presentations and interactive environments. Visitors can shoot a simulated Tommy gun, listen to real FBI surveillance tapes, and take part in FBI weapons training. The museum can also be booked for private events.

Las Vegas, NV, United States
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Nevada State Museum & Historical Society

Located in Springs Preserve, this eclectic museum houses both regional and natural history displays. Visitors learn about life in Las Vegas in the 1940s and view a 13-foot articulated Mammoth skeleton. The history of Nevada is archived in the Cahlan Library, which features books, maps and newspapers for research and reading. Check out the rose garden, located in the park near the entrance to the museum. There is a playground for the kids and everyone can enjoy a picnic by the lake.

Las Vegas, NV, United States
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Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park

Before Bugsy Siegel made it to town, the Mormon Church created this tiny settlement in 1855. It boasts the oldest European-American building in Nevada. The site was purchased by the State of Nevada in 1990 and restored as a state park. Tours are available that outline the harsh life that the first settlers endured. The old fort was once a rest stop for those heading to California to seek their fortune during the gold rush. This section is also a part of the Cultural Corridor that lies close to the University area. No credit cards are accepted.

Las Vegas, NV, United States
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Clark County Museum

Sprawled over 30 acres (12.14 hectares), the Clark County Museum is an open-air museum that allows you to experience the history of South Nevada first hand. An entire ghost town has been recreated, along with a nature and mining trail where you can see fascinating mineral exhibits. Walk along the museum's Heritage Street exploring a simulated newspaper printing company from the 1900s, historic houses from the early 20th Century, an old barn and wedding chapel, and an original Union Pacific steam engine and caboose. Of course, any exhibit on the culture of South Nevada is incomplete without mentioning its burgeoning entertainment industry. Clark County Museum also showcases memorabilia from Las Vegas resorts and casinos, along with retro fashions from the 1960s. At the end of an interactive guided tour, stop by at the souvenir shop to purchase traditional hand-crafted dolls and other keepsakes.

Henderson, NV, United States
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