The National Museum of Organized Crime, or the Mob Museum, opened its doors on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The museum, which cost an estimated $42 million to build, is located in the downtown area of Las Vegas and displays the long history of organized crime in the United States. Ironically, its opening date is the anniversary of Chicago's infamous 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Now open to the public, the mob museum is under the direction of Dennis Barrie, co-creator of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. In building the museum, Barry included 17,000 square feet of exhibits, including the bullet-riddled brick wall from the infamous Valentine's Day Massacre. The building that houses the organized crime museum is, by no coincidence, a former federal courthouse. In fact, it's the very same courthouse that held the 1950-51 Kefauver Committee hearings, a Senate investigation into the mob and its influence on the nation's economic, political and cultural life.
The mob museum takes visitors on a journey through organized crime from the 1930s to the 1980s. It was during those five decades that the mob was defined by family and ethnic affiliation. It was also the time when law enforcement and the justice system flourished as institutions dedicated to stopping the wave of crime that was spreading throughout the United States.
The museum highlights key events in mob history with exhibits displaying Prohibition-era whiskey flasks and Kennedy-era FBI wiretaps. There's also a page from Meyer Lansky's accounting ledger and suits worn by fictional HBO mob boss Tony Soprano.
The museum will help people understand better where Las Vegas comes from, and where they come from, historian Michael Green, told Reuters. At the same time, they'll also go away thinking, 'Only in Las Vegas could there be a museum like this.'
Check out photos from opening day at the Mob Museum below: