Friday, March 26, 2010

Tiptoeing Through the Boneyard

PICT0062, originally uploaded by chrisstcyr.

From Chris St. Cyr

Who doesn’t love a ten-foot-tall shoe or six-foot-tall letterforms? Well, one of the only places to see that part of the backside of America is in Las Vegas -- The Boneyard at the Neon Museum to be exact. The museum is a wonderful collection of old electric restaurant and casino signs from the heyday of the Strip. Some of the signs you might recognize come from Caesar's Palace, Binions Horsehoe, Golden Nugget, and Silver Slipper.

Walking through the Boneyard, the tour guide recounts the history of the signs -- the designers, manufacturers, and the entertainers who played the rooms. I was transported back to a time before LCD and plasma screens when you could hear the hum of electricity as you walked under one of these massive emblems. One of the more interesting facts about the Boneyard is that you can see the giant Treasure Island skull on Google Maps.

PICT0087, originally uploaded by chrisstcyr.

As a graphic designer and design educator I’m always looking for something new and interesting to show my students. Finding this collection of signage during a diversion from a conference in Vegas last March was a great find. All the broken lightbulbs, the faded colors, exposed wiring, and of course giant typography made the trip well worth it. At times the backside of America can be hard to find and then sometimes there are curators like the Neon Museum that preserve it for the rest of us.

PICT0035, originally uploaded by chrisstcyr.

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