As We See It

This is your life, Las Vegas Natural History Museum

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Lions, zebras and australopithecines, oh my! The Las Vegas Natural History Museum turns 20 this year.
Photo: Sam Morris

Welcome to This Is Your Life—that old TV show where host Ralph Edwards helps guests relive their entire lives in a single episode. And tonight’s guest is a museum celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Host: “You were born following the crash-and-burn of a natural history museum inside the Jockey Club. Your lifelong home in the old Elks’ Lodge on Las Vegas Boulevard was bought by the city, but filled with asbestos that needed to be removed. Inside your new gutted home, you weren’t expected to survive. Twenty years later, your permanent collection includes robotic dinosaurs, stuffed exotic animals and a walk through ancient Egypt. Las Vegas Natural History Museum, this is your life!

(Applause, applause)

Host: “Do you recognize these voices?”

“We just really looked like a long shot. We had no endowment. No public funding and we were trailing behind a natural history museum that went bankrupt.” —Marilynn Gillespie, founding executive director

The Details

Las Vegas Natural History Museum
900 Las Vegas Blvd. N., 384-3466
Daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Beyond the Weekly
Official site

“We’ve been walking the plain, starring in our own early man exhibit since the year 2000, and we owe it all to artist Ed Bigelow.” —The australopithecines

“While many museums across the country have struggled with the economic downturn, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum continues to thrive and grow. Last year, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum provided educational tours to 30,000 students in Clark County. Their Open Doors Program provided scholarships that allowed nearly 20,000 visitors from at-risk or economically disadvantaged schools to experience the museum.” —Senator Harry Reid

“We’ve been stalking prey, protecting our young and chilling out in our faux desert habitat since 1994.” —The stuffed animals in the Nevada Room

Host: “How about this man, whose former hotel, the Luxor, donated Egyptian items from its former King Tut Museum?”

“For generations to come, museum patrons will be able to see items they may not otherwise have seen. I’m glad residents of Southern Nevada will have this as an educational resource.” —Felix Rappaport, Mirage president

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