Branding Las Vegas, 1941 – 1958: Highlights from the Greeno Collection
On July 8, 2016, the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas opened a new exhibit titled Branding Las Vegas, 1941 – 1958: Highlights from the Greeno Collection. The exhibit describes, with artifacts from the recently acquired Richard and Nancy Greeno Collection of Las Vegas memorabilia and photographs from the Museum’s J. Florian Mitchell Collection, how the Las Vegas Strip’s first 13 hotel-casinos branded themselves. These resorts adopted distinctive themes which they expressed in part through colorful logos: a genie, palm trees, and minarets depicted the Dunes’ Middle Eastern theme; the Tropicana’s elaborate fountain hinted at European elegance; while the Stardust’s planet Earth and atomic stars reflected Space-Age modernism. Hotels placed their logos on ashtrays and matchbooks, tableware, thermos bottles, flight bags, souvenirs and giveaways of every description. These items, bought or pilfered by tourists, were carried across the world, spreading the hotel’s advertising and logo image far and wide, and earning Las Vegas the title of Entertainment Capital of the World.
With more than 8,000 items, the Richard and Nancy Greeno Collection of Las Vegas memorabilia is one of the largest such collections in the United States. Representing several decades of collecting, the Greeno Collection includes not only memorabilia and ephemera from all of Las Vegas’ major hotel-casino properties from 1941 to the present, but includes a significant collection of roulette-related artifacts, entertainment memorabilia, and items associated with organized crime.