UNLV student team with prior donation box. 3-D skeleton awaits case. Museum director Dennis McBride stands with Peter Barton, administrator of the Nevada Division of Museums and History.

  1) ‘Fish lizard’ takes up residence at museum

     On Feb. 16, the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas welcomed a new interactive donation box. UNLV engineering students under the direction of Dr. Si Jung Kim designed, built and installed the donation box funded by the Friends. Its primary feature is a three-dimensional model of an ichthyosaur skeleton. The animal’s name is Greek for “fish lizard.”

     The ichthyosaur, now extinct, is a marine reptile that lived before the dinosaurs. Nevada’s state fossil is the ichthysaur Shonisaurus popularis, which had a long, flexible body with flippers, like a dolphin, but a long jaw of sharp teeth like some reptiles. It was air-breathing and delivered its young live, rather than from eggs.

     In the Triassic period, Nevada was underwater, and ichthyosaurs as long and wide as school buses roamed that sea. Nevada’s species was among the largest – other species that lived elsewhere and more recently than the Triassic can be much smaller, fossils show. Today many of Nevada’s popularis fossils can be seen, exposed but undisturbed, at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in northwest Nye County.

     UNLV graduate Alex Gao, owner of Moment 3D, printed and donated the three-dimensional model that is the focus of the donation box. The box also has several tracks on which visitors can race coins into the box’s donation tank.

The video shows the last bit of the box’s assembly in the museum’s main corridor.

2) Friends vote to approve WIFI spending

     At our Feb. 15 meeting, Friends voted 22-1 in favor to fund installation of WIFI on the public floor of the NV State Museum, LV, contingent upon the donation by Hyper Networks of half the cost of the hardware, free installation, and free maintenance for three years.  With several large donations earmarked for WIFI, the Friends board continues to pursue donors for its portion of the funding. 

Museum hosts Teacher Meetup with help of Friends

      At the Feb. 6 evening event, about 70 teachers from the Clark County School District learned about museum resources that can help students learn history and natural history. Museum curators gave brief talks about their specialties as teachers rotated through stations inside the museum.



Feder walks us through ‘Folies’ history in LV

     Karan Feder’s new book, “The Folies Bergere! in Las Vegas,” gives both performance history and criticism of the French-derived show as it developed through the years on the Las Vegas Strip.

     The author discussed her book, and signed copies on Saturday (Feb. 3) at the museum. The audience included alumnae dancers from “Folies” and several other Las Vegas stage productions.

     Feder is the museum’s guest curator for textiles and costumes.


     Thank you to all who attended and helped put on our first-ever friend-raiser!

      Almost 70 people turned out for the evening, which included a lot of mingling, toasting with drinks and browsing in the gallery of the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas. The evening resulted in the Friends raising $900 between donations and new memberships. We salute all our supporters!

     To add a hint of friendly competition, guests were invited to tour the gallery in “scavenger hunt” mode, which meant they had 30 trivia questions to correctly answer about the varied artifacts and fossils and signage – all with a clock ticking down. The winner of this contest was Art Chesmore, whose prize is a one-year family membership to the Friends of NV State Museum LV.

     We are grateful to those who provided silent-auction items, made table centerpieces or donated wine or other tidbits. We give a special shout-out to Carol Swearingen, Roc Riemer and Haven Whitely, who helped from set up to tear down.

     The funds raised will, of course, eventually benefit the museum and its visitors through a variety of Friends projects now underway or in the planning stage.

     To view a full list of the events and speakers that the Friends have prepared for the year, please go to 2018 schedule.


     Come to our first-ever friend-raiser on Saturday (Jan. 27). This free meet-n-greet is designed to let members of the community see what a treasure the NV State Museum, LV truly is.

     The Friends event includes a scavenger hunt through the museum’s gallery as well as refreshments, door prizes, a small silent auction, and remarks by Dennis McBride, the museum director.

     We hope to see you there!

     Although Friends account for roughly 25 percent of the museum’s total volunteer force, we contributed about 50 percent of all volunteer hours donated in 2017! Thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment.

     The chart expresses proportionally which aspects of the museum received volunteer hours from Friends.

     To read our full 2017 Impact Report, please go to annual report.


     Friends, this is a chance for you to strut the museum’s stuff! Bring a friend, date or relative – or one of each – to our after-hours gallery experience!

     Please RSVP the number of adults in your party by emailing events@nsmlv.org. Doors open at 6 p.m.

     For full details of this free, adults-only event , consult our site’s Special Events page.


     We will go over the organization’s accomplishments at our January general meeting on Thursday (Jan. 18), which runs 6-7 p.m. in the museum’s special events room. That will include recognizing individuals who played a role in our various 2017 projects and events.

Second, because it’s also our annual business meeting, we will vote to update two bylaws and elect a permanent secretary. Only members who have paid their 2018 dues can vote. Don’t forget – you can pay online, via our website’s membership page.

     As usual, we will have snacks and a raffle, too!

Photo by Royer

     Thanks to a Jan. 6 photo workshop led by Garrett Winslow and sponsored by the Friends of the Nevada State Museum Las Vegas, we are proud to announce the winner of our first ever indoor-photography contest: Ms. Royer, whose first-place black and white photo depicts an old-style hopper for holding bingo numbers.

     More than 30 people attended the workshop, at which Winslow gave tips on how to effectively shoot museum artifacts — which pose such challenges as reflective glass cases, dark shadows and spot lighting. Winslow encouraged participants to make the most of their smartphone cameras.

    After Winslow’s remarks, attendees spread through the museum galleries, taking photographs of display items and visitors.

     The museum photos shot during the workshop and entered in the contest can be viewed at “Nevada, Now and Then.”

    People who participated in the photo contest agreed to release their photos for use by the museum and Friends to develop gift-shop items and marketing materials. Due to technical difficulties, not all photographs submitted were entered in the contest. We apologize to those whose photos were affected.

Photo by Alvarado Reyes

     Photographer Garrett Winslow (nevadacc.org/users/Thenikonian) will lead a workshop on indoor photography from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 6) at the museum. Come with any kind of photo device – from smartphone to iPad to actual camera. He has titled this event “Nevada, Now and Then.”

     After an instruction session, Winslow will turn attendees lose in the museum gallery, to shoot artifacts, preserved animals, fossils, etc.

     We will hold a contest of submitted photos, and award a one-year family museum membership to the photographer who places first. Other photos will be displayed on the Friends’ website and may be used in other marketing materials.

     This workshop is free with either museum membership or general Springs Preserve admission.


To give us a hand running the workshop, please sign up online.


Photo by Karen Maes