As social media began to circulate a petition for the Las Vegas Showgirl Museum last week, the general response seemed to be: We have such a thing?
It turns out that a portion of a 20,000-item collection has been quietly observed by student groups, tourists and local celebrities in a Paradise Palms home since 2010. “Mary [Dee Mantle, owner of the residential location of the museum] has never believed in advertising, so that’s why no one in Vegas seems to know we exist,” says the museum’s CEO, Grant Philipo. “We don’t really know how to get people interested and to even try to save something so vital in this community.”
The petition, asserting that the museum is “under attack,” is certainly helping. It rejects the claims of a filed complaint—the only one it has ever received, Philipo says—accusing LVSM of charging admission, a no-no for residential museums (Philipo maintains he has only ever accepted donations).
Now, despite operating for over five years with a state-issued business license, LVSM must get approval of a land-use permit by the Clark County Commission or close in February, as it lacks funds to open in another building. Philipo is appealing to the community to voice support online and at a January 5 planning commission meeting. “Now that Jubilee is closing for good, there’s no other place in Vegas where you can go to learn about showgirls,” Philipo says. “And they want to shut us down as well.”