Friends history

Our story, Friends logo 12-3-16 Mods


     In April or early May of 2018, the Friends are excited to launch free WIFI service on the museum’s public floor. Hyper Networks is donating a portion of the equipment cost and doing the installation for free. The Friends raised $2,000 for this project, with another $1,500 came from the state board that oversees the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas.

     In February 2018 we welcomed installation of the new dinosaur-themed donation box, which the Friends commissioned by providing seed money to a group of UNLV engineering students, who designed, built and installed the box.


     We held Gallery Gala, a “friend-raiser,” in January 2018. The evening event included light refreshments, door prizes, a small silent auction as well as a browsing of the galleries, which culminated in a scavenger hunt for trivia about the exhibits. We raised $900.

     In June 2017 our organization celebrated its first anniversary. Our membership has grown from 40 people to 60-some members. That’s roughly a 50-percent increase though we admittedly started from a small base.

     The Friends group was awarded a competitive 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. Get trained to participate by viewing the video at

     In 2017, the non-profit Friends of the Nevada State Museum Las Vegas was upgraded to Gold Status as awarded by GuideStar, a nationwide service that evaluates and rates the effectiveness and accountability of not-for-profit organizations, such as our own. The Friends are thrilled at receiving this designation, as it also will enable us to leverage certain fund-raising options in the future. The Friends received entry-level Bronze Status in autumn 2016.

     We also have been accepted into the AmazonSmile program of, which awards us a donation of .5 percent of a shopper’s purchase amount whenever an online shopper designates us as his or her charity. That’s one penny for every $2 spent. (Be sure to create an AmazonSmile account and designate the Friends as your recipient!)


     In 2016, the Friends raised $800 for its school bus project — enough to pay bus-fuel-driver costs for five field trips to the museum (at $160 per field trip). Friends transmitted the money to the Clark County School District’s School Community Partnership Program on Jan. 13, 2017. Schools will be selected on a financial-needs basis from the ZIP codes surrounding the museum. This project is ongoing. (By mid-summer 2017, the number of trips paid for had risen to 14 trips.) 

YOU CAN READ about the Friends’ founding and 2016 achievements in our 2017 Annual Impact Statement, or our 2016 Annual Impact Statement.

OUR FOUNDING:                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

     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 – Wayne Pichler

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.