At our March 16 meeting, Dr. Michael Green, a UNLV professor and historian, will speak about how Las Vegas handled Prohibition, which made the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages illegal.

     Federal Prohibition ran from 1920 through 1933. But Las Vegas had a tolerant approach to gambling, girls and gin. With Prohibition, the making of moonshine and prescribing of “medicinal” alcohol became part of the scene here, as well as in many U.S. communities.

     Eventually local authorities in Nevada stopped enforcing Prohibition, leaving the job to federal agents, who made periodic raids in Las Vegas to clamp down against alcohol until national repeal took effect in 1933.

     Green earned his bachelor and master’s degrees at UNLV, and his doctorate at Columbia University.


    Now that Gold Butte has gained the protection of national monument status, the role of Friends of Gold Butte has changed.

   The organization’s new focus is promoting responsible enjoyment of the Gold Butte area, Jaina Moan told a Friends audience on Feb. 16. Moan is executive director of Friends of Gold Butte.

   The group continues to hold clean-ups of litter and to restore land where illegal off-road tracks have been made. Gold Butte does have designated trails for off roading, as well as artifacts including numerous petroglyph panels, signs of old mining and ranching activities, and a masonry dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

   The new national monument, which was designated in late December, lies south of the city of Mesquite, from the Overton Arm of Lake Mead to the Utah border.


Next time you need to spend time at a Department of Motor Vehicles office, look for the promotional video about the museum that Wayne Pichler, our media officer,  has created.




At the Feb. 16 general meeting, Jaina Moan, executive director of the Friends of Gold Butte, will be our guest speaker.

To learn the latest news on Gold Butte, you can go to the Review-Journal’s Feb. 9 article, which is at

Gold Butte was named a national monument by President Barack Obama on Dec. 28, 2016, at the end of his administration. The area lies to the east of Lake Mead’s Overton Arm, to the south of Mesquite, Nevada. It has been the setting for conflict between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and rancher Cliven Bundy, who hasn’t been paying fees for his cattle to graze on federal lands.

Thank you to Ritchie Duplechien for donating $160 to fund a bus trip so local schoolchildren can visit the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas!

The Friends have now paid for nine trips ( $1,440). That’s almost halfway to our initial goal of 20 trips. The school district allocates the Friends’ bus trip money to needy schools, who then schedule field trips to the museum.

This is an ongoing project.

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017

     A modest profit and a good turnout in spite of rain resulted from the Friends holding a Feb. 11 workshop on how the historical Rockwell quilt in the museum’s collection embodies genealogy.

     “How Railroads, the Civil War and Genealogy Created a Quilt” was the title of the workshop, which was co-sponsored by the Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society.

     Caroline Kunioka, the museum’s curator of history, described the history of the quilt, which was originally owned by the Hurdick family near Elmira, New York, at the time of the Civil War. It is a signature quilt, which means one pattern is repeated in all blocks. Each block in the Rockwell quilt is inked with the name of someone meaningful to the Hurdicks. Included are names of some Union soldiers.

     The quilt later traveled west when Charlotte “Lottie” Breese Rockwell (a granddaughter in the Hurdick family) and her sons, Leon and Earl Rockwell, moved to Las Vegas in the early 1900s.

     In the second part of the workshop — presented by the genealogy society — Michelle Bell Bryner explained resources available at the Heritage Room at Henderson’s Paseo Verde public library, and Sam Giordano went over basic principles and techniques for doing sound genealogical research.  

     Kunioka, at center of the photo, gestures at a signature quilt loaned for the workshop by the Clark County Museum. In the background hangs the Rockwells’ signature quilt. Both quilts have the same repeating block pattern, which is known variously as album patch, friendship or chimney sweep.

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2016

“Genealogy of a Quilt: How Railroads, the Civil War and Genealogy Created a Quilt” will run from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 11 in the state museum’s special-events room.

The science of tracing ancestry will merge with the artistry of quilt-making. The Friends are co-sponsoring the event along with the Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society.

The artifact “starring” in the presentation is a museum quilt that was sewn in the Civil War era, then brought west by the Rockwells, an early family in Las Vegas. Its squares are inked with the names of Civil War veterans.

Admission is free for Friends, and $5 for others. Refreshments and a raffle are part of the event.



Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

The Friends’ first “year” consisted of six very productive months starting in July 2016.  The pie charts demonstrate our group’s activity in two important areas: fund-raising and volunteerism. Please peruse the 2016 report for full background and detail.

$2,290 in donations received by Friends

1,505 hours donated to museum by Friends volunteers

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017

     The Jan. 21 workshop on digitizing old photos had an enthusiastic though modestly sized audience.

     “It was fantastic. I have a long road ahead to properly preserve my favorite photos,” said Cindy Pichler, who attended the event at the museum.

     Topnotch museum staff led the workshop: Crystal Van Dee, the museum’s curator of manuscripts and paper artifacts, and Ilana Short, who curates the museum’s photo collection.

     About 15 people attended the event, which culminated in the raffle of a basket stuffed with scrapbook and photo storage supplies, pictured at right.

     The Friends’ next public event, 2-3 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the museum, will be a session combining the art of quilt-making with the science of genealogical research.

     The Friends are co-sponsoring the afternoon with the Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society. The event will focus on a museum artifact, the so-called Rockwell quilt, which was made in the Civil War era and brought to Las Vegas by an early family.

If you’ve got precious old photos, the best way to preserve and share them is electronically.

Learn the pros and cons of various file formats and storage methods by attending the Friends’ workshop 1-2 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 21) at the museum.

The workshop, “Save Your Family History: Digitizing Old Photos” will be led by museum experts: manuscripts curator Crystal Van Dee and photo cataloger Ilana Short.

Admission is free for Friends and $5 at the door for others.

Beverages will be sold, and a raffle of a scrapbooking-supplies basket will be held.