Our story, Friends logo 12-3-16 Mods

The Friends mission is to to encourage, foster, and assist Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas programs and activities by volunteering, fundraising, and promoting community interest in the museum.

Learn more about the Friends from one of our 2019 officers.



In July 2018, we held a free Dino Discovery Family Night, which was designed to showcase the museum for families with children. After families browsed the galleries, they visited 10 activity stations. Children had a chance to handle fossils, look at dinosaur footprints, explore the tracks and skat of modern animals, as well as participate in numerous dinosaur-themed crafts.

In June 2018, the Friends held a Hats, Handbags & History event that raised almost $2,000. It included a lecture on fashion history, a custom exhibit of fashion accessories from the museum’s collection, a silent auction of designer and gently used handbags, a “best hat” contest and tea.

The Friends raised funds and built a coalition with the NV State Board of Museums and History, and our corporate sponsor, Hyper Networks to launch free WIFI service for the museum’s public floor on May 10, 2018.

We held Gallery Gala, a “friend-raiser,” in January 2018 to acquaint non-members with the state museum.

In June 2017 our organization celebrated its first anniversary!

The Friends group was awarded a competitive 2017 grant from the Nevada Humanities Council for $3,915 to replenish the museum’s “traveling trunks” program, which local teachers borrow to teach on a specified theme, such as Nevada mining.

In April 2017, the Friends bought a scanner and adapted software to launch a crowd-sourced project to create an electronic database of the 239,000 index cards in the museum library’s card catalog. As of mid-July 2017, Friends and members of the public had transcribed more than 5,000 cards. The project allows a person with Internet to transcribe at home, for as long or short as he or she wishes. Volunteer online.


The Friends raised money from 2016 – 2017 for school buses to bring kids to the museum. The program was so successful that the State of Nevada created a similar two-year state-wide program.


The Friends began meeting in May 2016 to organize itself, led by the group’s founding president, Mary Savage. In June 2016, members adopted a set of by-laws and a board of officers was formed. The group incorporated in early July 2016, and received its tax-exempt 501c3 status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service later the same month. The first issue of its monthly newsletter, the Friends Folio, came out Aug. 1, 2016.

President – Mary Savage
Vice president – Joan Whitely
Sarah Hulme
Treasurer – Laura Eisenberg
Media coordinator – Elliot Meacham

President – Mary Savage
Vice president – Jon Howard
Secretary – Nick Dyer
Treasurer – Laura Eisenberg
Media coordinator – Joan Whitely

CHARTER MEMBERS: These are the 40 people who joined in 2016, the year that the Friends group was established.

Jeff Alpert Duke of Fremont Street David Millman
Steve Alpert Mary Gafford Pamela Prim
David Bouyea Alden Grant Clyde Ruckle
Nancy Brady David Grant Jenni Ruckle
Camilla Camburn  Sarina Grant Mary Savage
James Camburn Diana Hill Judy Schaffer
Barbara Ciocca Ken Hill Mark Schaffer
Diane Dizon Jon Howard Pamela Sitton
Ronald Dizon Caroline Kunioka Patricia Thacker
Nick Dyer John Maxey Michelle Tombari
Tom Dyer Terry Maxwell Margurite Walton
Laura Eisenberg Karen McKenney Dorothy White
Elizabeth Foley Betty Miller Sheila White
Joan Whitely


The Friends group is legally distinct from the museum.

Membership in the Friends is separate from museum membership.