Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Elvis-A-Rama Museum, Las Vegas

During our recent trip to Las Vegas, my wife and I found ourselves making a "pilgrimage" to the Elvis-A-Rama museum. Located on Industrial a few blocks off the strip behind the Fashion Mall, this museum holds (as the Travel Channel described) the largest private collection of Elvis memorabilia outside Graceland. It was certainly and interesting and enlightening visit. Our visit was also rather timely since the museum is scheduled to close permanently on October 1st, 2006.

After we paid the admission, we were escorted into a dark room with black lights and fluorescent names of Elvis in different languages and waited while we were given a hyped pep talk about what we were going to see. I thought this rather cheesy, but it was the only part of the displays which could be considered that way.

The museum is arranged generally in chronological order, following the King's career from its root until his untimely death. There were fascinating bits of minutia, such as deposit slips, royalty checks, letters back and forth between fans and friends and much more. There were 3 cars which were once owned by Elvis as well as a variety of costumes and other personal belongings.

One of the more interesting items (to me) was a guitar which was passed around and played when the members of the Beatles met with Elvis in his Memphis home. Along with the guitar was a narrative of the visit (written by John Lennon, I think). It was fascinating to read the account of the meeting of two music powerhouses under one roof.

There is, of course, a gift shop where one can purchase anything from sunglasses to copies of Elvis' divorce decree.

We were told by one of the staff the reason for the museum's closing was that it had been bought by Graceland. According to rumour, another Vegas museum run by Graceland was in the works, but no details were known. The collection in the Elvis-O-Rama was to remain with the private owner, who described himself as a close friend of Elvis from his youth.

It's a shame that such a Vegas landmark will pass. Of course, that's the way it is there - the city constantly imploding or plowing over the old to make way for the new. It'll be interesting to see what happens with any new Elvis museum.

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