Museumchick

The Best Museums in Las Vegas

I know I can’t be the only person that goes to Las Vegas and spends most of the time at museums. Las Vegas is more than just gambling, it’s also a city full of culture. Las Vegas is host to numerous museums, with some taking unique approaches on how they display and present materials. When you want to get around Las Vegas and check out more than the casinos, consider visiting some of the museums. I’ll start with my favorite, The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Years ago I saw a great Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit here.

 

The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art has world-class exhibits from both international museums and private collections. Some exhibits that have been on display in the past have included masterpieces from Monet, celebrity portraits from Andy Warhol, Faberge pieces from the Kremlin, and more.

Auto Collection at the Quad

Automotive enthusiasts will love the Auto Collection at The Quad, formerly known as the Imperial Palace.  It features 300 classic cars that includes race cards, muscle cars, and more.  There are also many military vehicles here as well.  If you have the bankroll to afford it, you may be able to take a car home with you.

Pinball Hall of Fame

One of the more unique museums in Las Vegas is the Pinball Hall of Fame.  Here you can play hundreds of classic pinball machines and other coin operated games from decades past. This is a fully interactive museum, so make sure you bring a couple rolls of quarters for the games.

The Mob Museum

For those that love the history of organized crime in old Las Vegas, you need to take a trip to The Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas.  Don’t expect a Hollywood approach to life of the old school Vegas mobster though. Instead you will have a realistic look into the life of both the mobsters that ran the town and those that worked to run them out.

The Discover Children’s Museum

The Discovery Children’s Museum is a place where kids can learn about the world around them by becoming part of the lesson.  Over 100 interactive exhibits will teach kids about history, science, the arts, and much more in a fun environment that has been recently moved to the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center.

Bodies – The Exhibition

For those that love anatomy or want a truly unique museum experience, try out Bodies The Exhibition at the Luxor. This exhibit would be a med students dream with live body and organ specimens from around the world. Learn about the human body by actually studying the human body, both inside and out.

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The Influence of the Incas

Once one of the world’s great superpowers; the Inca Empire stretched across a third of South America. Its paved roads spanned the Andes and were walked by alpacas that carried goods from one place to another, including fruit from the jungles, salt from the deserts and gold from the mines. Although in decline before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, the influence the Incas had remains and has spread, even beyond the boundaries of its old power base, to contribute to art and music around the world.

 

The Sun Kings

The term “Inca” refers only to the rulers of that ancient empire, who were believed to be descendants of the Sun God, Inti. Most subjects of the empire were little more than slaves or peasants who worked hard growing crops, like corn and potatoes, or putting together the remarkable dry stone walls on which most Inca architecture was based. Extensive examples remain standing today, like in picture above. Gold was used to decorate important buildings because it was the sacred metal of the sun, and festivals were held in honor of various gods in each of the 12 months of the Incan calendar. The biggest, Inti Raymi, held at the summer solstice in June, is still celebrated to this day.

 

Cultural Survivals

Other cultural survivors of the Inca Empire include its language – modern Quechua being very close to that spoken by their emperors. Peru, in particular, preserves many ancient Inca customs and even fashions, with many people still dressing and decorating their homes in the woven patterns designed by their ancestors. Traditional blankets are also used for animals, with llamas still a common beast of burden.

 

Art

Inca art, including beautiful works of filigree gold can still be seen in museums and they inspire the contemporary jewelry designers of today – especially the pendants and earrings. Beadwork is also enduringly popular, with painted beads often bearing distinctive stripes or diamond patterns. You can find distinctive pottery and silverware, often featuring squat humanoid figures, if you visit former Inca lands.

 

Music

Inca music survives in folk melodies that are enjoyed today, while the Inca’s musical instruments are remembered in art such as the ocarina necklace sold at  http://www.songbirdocarina.com/accessories. Peruvian dance halls play songs of Inca origin, which helps to keep alive ancient stories that have been passed down the generations along with them; the closest thing there is to Inca literature.

Food

The great variety of food types available across the Inca Empire; the sophisticated methods of food preservation they developed, including freeze-drying, and their excellent road network gave the Incas the opportunity to become creative with cooking. You might not be as keen as they were on baked guinea pig, but they also invented jerky and popcorn, and popularized the chili pepper. The widespread use of quinoa originated with the Incas and today, as modern varieties of potato struggle with blight, the hardy varieties they cultivated are being looked to for a solution.

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