Herbarium workshop filling up – so hurry

     The Friends are holding a free herbarium workshop involving the craft of mounting pressed plants from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday (April 28). It will be led by the Friends’ treasurer Laura Eisenberg, who is a botanist. Please sign up for the event online at registration. All materials will be supplied. The workshop will be held in the museum’s special-events room.

Pressed California poppy art by DayThreeCreations on Etsy

Click to move to the museum’s official website.

The next meeting of the Friends will start at 6 p.m. May 17

in the special-events room of the museum,

which is in the Springs Preserve,

309 S. Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas 89107.

Park in the upper-most lot.

Meetings are free and open to the public.



Tour of stage costumes at April meeting

      Guest Curator Karan Feder led a Thursday (April 19) behind-the-scenes tour of the collection, which features everyday historical wear as well as garments donated by celebrities and show costumes donated by casinos or performers. The tour took place during our April general meeting, which began at 6 p.m. in the museum’s special-events room. Attendees got to view items not currently on public display. The photo below shows different types of “pasties” worn by casino showgirls, while the photo at right is a showgirl costume in the museum’s public gallery.


Ichthyosaur is next talk’s topic

     Nevadan Paige dePolo, a paleontologist who earned her undergrad degree at the University of Nevada, Reno, is currently a visiting researcher at Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas.

     On June 30 (Saturday) she will present a Friends workshop 2-4 p.m. titled “Meet Shonisaurus popularis, Nevada’s State Fossil,” which is about the ichthyosaur species that swam in the sea that once covered Nevada.

     On April 21 the museum hosted her talk, “Beyond the Bones: Insights from Fossil Footprints.”

     She is the lead author of a ground-breaking study of dinosaur footprints on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, recently published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.

     DePolo’s team identified about 50 footprints, including some tracks of dino relatives to the Tyrannosaurus rex. The mixture of footprints by different species in the same location challenges a theory that plant-eaters waded into shallow, muddy waters to evade their predators.  

     Her scientific paper on dinosaur tracks on the Isle of Skye has been written up by many news media outlets, including the National Geographic at https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/sauropods-dinosaurs-footprints-scotland-fossils-science.  

     DePolo is currently between terms at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she is earning her doctorate. Her curriculum vitae on the university’s website shows that one of her research topics is “Dinosaur Trackways on the Isle of Skye.


Friends rub elbows with green thumbs at sale

     At the Springs Preserve’s annual spring plant sale on March 24, the Friends staffed a booth to do outreach.

     We informed visitors about our 2018 schedule of events. Some  people bought bottle-cap dangly earrings made by Mary Savage. Many took away free plant seeds collected and packaged by Savage.

     Our objective for this event was less to raise funds, more to share with the public what the Friends are doing to advance the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas and our Friends organization.

     Thank you to all who volunteered: Steve Shoaff, Sue D’Agostino, Barbara Ciocca, Carol Swearingen, Sarah Hulme and Joan Whitely.

The Friends of Nevada State Museum Las Vegas thank all who participated in our online fund-raising campaign. The total raised was $460!

     Worthwhile Friends projects awaiting funding include the museum’s herbarium (pressed plant collection) and its butterfly collection. Both require camera equipment adequate for scientific photography in order to digitize the collections and put the photos online.

     The Friends staffed the central information table in the museum rotunda from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 21, which was designated a free-admission day at the Springs Preserve. Our table helped direct visitor traffic to the Museum Showcase – consisting of tables manned by 20 different local or regional museums.

     According to a Springs Preserve representative, more than 1,000 people came to the campus to participate in the Museum Showcase.

     Thank you to our volunteers for all your help: Sue D’Agostino, Barbara Ciocca, Diana Mason, Carol Swearingen, Sarah Hulme, Wayne Pichler and Joan Whitely.

Photos depict some of the other museums’ tables and displays. From left: train paraphernalia at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City; old manual vacuum cleaner from Sunnyside Museum in Round Mountain; and scale models of mining structures from the Tonopah Historic Mining Park.


     The state’s Board of Museums and History voted on March 12 to contribute $1,500 to the Friends project to install public WIFI on the Las Vegas museum’s public floor, which includes the galleries, meeting rooms, library and gift shop.

     With the state’s portion, the Friends will spend only about $2,000, even though members voted 22-1 on Feb. 15 to spend up to $3,500 for WIFI.

     The WIFI system will allow museum visitors to post selfies or other photos on social media – in real time, and for free rather than using their phone data – while they’re still onsite and excited about their museum experience. That’s a form of free advertising that will expand the museum’s reach.

     WIFI will also make leasing of the museum’s special-events room more attractive for business meetings or social events such as weddings.

     A linchpin in the WIFI proposal is the participation of Hyper Networks, a local communications tech company. It has offered to cover half the cost of the equipment needed, do the installation for free, maintain the system for free for three years, and cover half the cost of Internet access.

     We are grateful for all the individuals who donated money, raffle prizes or snacks to bring this amenity to the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas.

Donate new or gently used handbags for auction


     At our March 15 general meeting  you can start bringing any ladies’ purses that you want to contribute toward a tea time and silent auction of handbags that the Friends will hold 2-4 p.m. on June 23 at the museum.

     The event will  include a presentation on the history of handbags, along with a display of some of the historical handbags in the museum’s collections. Guests are encouraged to wear hats, tiaras or fascinators.

     Refreshments will include tea and sparkling wine.

     A prize will go to the attendee with the best headgear.


Botany is headliner at our March 15 meeting

     “Discovering Butterfly Host Plants” is the theme of the talk that museum curator Sali Underwood will give on March 15 at our general meeting. She will explain how she and the volunteers she has trained are sorting through thousands of old, pressed plants (some were pressed more than 30 years ago) to create a digital database that aims to link each plant species with the moth or butterfly species it hosts.

     She’ll also explain the scientific value of this time-consuming project.

     Then we will present proclamations of thanks to several scientists, instructors and researchers who are active in Nevada botany.


    We will learn how plants interact with moths and butterflies at the March 15 general meeting of the Friends when curator Sali Underwood talks about the museum’s process to identify and digitally catalogue more than 2,400 pressed plants which have been in storage for decades.

     Underwood, the museum’s curator of natural history, has also trained volunteers to sift through the published work of the plant collector, now deceased, to link to any butterfly host plants in the museum files to the moth or butterfly species they serve.

     On March 15, the Friends will also honor a number of researchers and archivists who have contributed to the study of Nevada’s plant life.

         In this montage, the butterflies do not necessarily correlate with the flowers.

     Water is the precious desert asset that brought explorers, traders and the railroad through the valley, leading ultimately to the establishment of Las Vegas.

     Nathan Harper, archaeologist for the Springs Preserve, will talk about preserving artifacts that were part of the system by which early Las Vegas trapped and piped water, at a lecture that will run 2-4 p.m. on Saturday (March 3) at NV State Museum, LV.

     Harper’s talk, “Going with the Flow – Historical Water Infrastructure,” is part of the 2018 Southern Nevada Archeology Speaker Series.

     The Friends need several volunteers for this event. To help staff an information table on Saturday, please sign up at www.nsmlv.org/volunteering.

Springs Preserve is site of artesian springs, now exhausted, from which Las Vegas – “meadows,” in Spanish – takes its name.