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Neon Museum Tries Crowdfunding To Restore Iconic Motel Sign

Desert Rose Motel
Neon Museum

Efforts are underway to restore The Desert Rose Motel sign.

If one word -- aside from "gambling," of course -- is synonymous with Las Vegas for both locals and visitors, it’s “neon.”

Some of the best known landmarks in Las Vegas’s past and present have been adorned with twinkling neon signs.

One of those intricate markers once resided above the Desert Rose Motel. 

The Desert Rose was one of the last motels on the Las Vegas Strip, and its iconic sign was built in 1960.

It’s one of the largest and most visually elaborate signs in the Las Vegas Neon Museum’s collection.

The museum has undertaken the task of restoring the Desert Rose’s sign to its former glory, but quite a bit of cash is still needed to make the restoration a reality.

The total price tag will be $60,000.  The Neon Museum currently has $10,000 allocated to the project. 

That’s where crowdfunding comes in.

Neon Museum Executive Director Danielle Kelly says this project is so expensive because of the size and detail of the work being done.

The Desert Rose project is an effort to refurbish the body of the sign and protect its features, including hand-painted lettering and floral embellishments, from the elements. 

The costs for that type of work pile up when dealing with a 24-foot-long, two-sided sign like the Desert Rose's.

"We thought, 'Well, go big or go home!'" Kelly told KNPR's State of Nevada.  "This is the most important sign we have to take care of in this way."

When the project is funded and completed, the newly-restored sign will return to its current place in the Neon Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas.

More information about the Desert Rose Motel sign and the Neon Museum's fundraising effort is available on the project's IndieGoGo page.


Danielle Kelly, executive director, Las Vegas Neon Museum

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Nikole Robinson Carroll is KNPR's Morning Edition host. You can hear her every morning from 5am until 10am on News 889. She also produces segments for KNPR's State of Nevada.