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Arts & Culture

Restoration Neon

The restored Jerry’s Nugget sign in its permanent home at the Neon Museum’s Boneyard in Las Vegas.
Courtesy of American Public Television
The restored Jerry’s Nugget sign in its permanent home at the Neon Museum’s Boneyard in Las Vegas.

Airs Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 at 12 p.m. on KPBS TV

The restored Jerry’s Nugget sign in its permanent home at the Neon Museum’s Boneyard in Las Vegas.
Courtesy of American Public Television
The restored Jerry’s Nugget sign in its permanent home at the Neon Museum’s Boneyard in Las Vegas.
The restored Liberace sign on a truck bed as it is moved to the Neon Museum Boneyard.
Courtesy of American Public Television
The restored Liberace sign on a truck bed as it is moved to the Neon Museum Boneyard.
The restored Liberace sign in its new home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in Las Vegas.
Courtesy of American Public Television
The restored Liberace sign in its new home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in Las Vegas.

Think of neon signs and you think of Vegas. Perhaps more than any other city on the planet, the neon sign is integral to Las Vegas' aesthetic, economic and cultural history. The signs are icons that defined Las Vegas. They are spectacles signifying fantasy, fun and the kind of frontier freedom that has slipped away from so many other places in the American West.

These are beacons—often of gigantic proportions—crafted with unparalleled vision and skill by unsung artistic innovators. Yet many of the signs are in danger of forever disappearing beneath the dust and rubble as old buildings and landmarks are demolished to make way for the new.

Through archival photos and footage, "Restoration Neon" presents the history of the neon signs from their first usage in Las Vegas in the late 1920s to present day. The film also offers an inside look at what it takes to bring these luminous historic icons back to life.

Recognizing the importance of preserving these historically significant artistic monuments, the Neon Museum and its community partners and funders are restoring two neon signs essential to local Las Vegas history: the sign from the original Jerry's Nugget and the sign from the Liberace Museum's former Tropicana location. Witness each critical stage in the rebuild process, meet the craftsmen behind the restoration, and see the signs revived, electrified and once again gleaming in the night sky in their new permanent home at the Neon Museum.

"Restoration Neon" was produced by Vegas PBS and distributed by American Public Television.

Due to the nature of the collection, the Neon Museum Boneyard is only available to the public through one of their hour-long guided tours. Tours are available seven days a week and tour times vary based on the season. The Neon Boneyard is an outdoor collection, so dress appropriately for the weather. The Neon Museum is on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and you can follow @NeonMuseum on Twitter.