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309 S. Valley View Blvd., LV, 89107
inside Springs Preserve

museum pioneer
A sample question from museum’s activity sheet about Nevada settlers.

Ways to enjoy the museum at home

By Sarah Hulme

While the museum was closed in spring, the team worked on updates to the museum website, at to bring the history of Las Vegas and Southern Nevada directly into people's homes.

If you have time on your hands, we have a some fabulous film footage to watch at that includes:

Also, each part has a fun quiz worksheet to download, if you are feeling so inclined to take part, or to challenge someone else in your household.

And if you are home schooling or looking after the grandkids, then there is also a selection of virtual “field trip” activities to keep them amused, yet learning at the same time, from fossils to flowers to first peoples and pioneers. And we love your feedback, so is there a topic you would like us to include? Let us know and we will see what we can create!

The museum team also wants to take this opportunity to thank all of the Friends who have contributed to the COVER for COVID campaign – all proceeds are being spent directly on essential provisions for the museum and are very much appreciated by us all!

The Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas is currently closed. Once a new reopening date is set, its staff will let everyone know, and will update the museum website accordingly.We apologize for any inconvenience, and look forward to seeing everyone again very soon.

museum crafts
Home crafts is theme of new exhibit.

COVER for COVID campaign is halfway thru

pie chart
By Jim Parish

We are one month into our COVER for COVID fundraising campaign. It ends Aug. 31. Our campaign target is $5,000. As of Friday (July 31), we have raised $2,766! Fantastic!

Thank you to all our caring and generous members who've been so kind as to make donations. We appreciate you and your dependable support of the Friends and Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas. In addition to money, we have received goods worth $150, and labor/parts to upgrade three computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Your donations this year have also purchased 24 research books, multiple cartridges for the Museum's printers, supplies (tape, glue, etc.) for the team that builds exhibits, archival-quality cloth hangers, face masks, sanitizer, power cartridges for slide projectors, and other miscellaneous items. From my personal discussions, the museum staff is extremely happy and encouraged by the Friends support. It definitely builds morale!

We still need $2,234 to meet our goal!

If you haven't donated yet, please consider doing so by the end of this month. You can mail a paper check to the Friends c/o the museum at 309 S. Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas 89107. Or you can donate online.

We know many people are financially challenged by the pandemic, so give only if you can, and what you can. Every dollar donated helps the cause. Thank you again for your generosity and kindness.

Two transitions on Friends board

By Joan Whitely

The Friends enthusiastically welcome Catherine Finnegan to its board, effective in July. She has been volunteering under Sarah Hulme to help digitize the museum’s extensive collection of paper photographs. Also, since last autumn she has been participating in Friends events such as our first Stuff-a-Truck and last December's Barnes & Noble bookfair.

Here’s a peek into Finnegan’s background, supplied by the subject herself:

I grew up in New York City, Baltimore and again, New York City. My first library job was assistant to the photo editor of Scholastic Magazines. This was before Scholastic Books became a mainstay of children’s library collections.

In the mid ‘60s I traveled west and ended up living in Las Vegas and then Carson City, where I completed my bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. From there I went to the University of Oregon for my master’s degree in library science (as it was known then).

Back to NYC – no jobs in the West – for a couple of years and then a return to Carson City, where I worked for an environmental institute, the Nevada State Library and the Nevada Supreme Court Library.

In the early ‘80s, I moved to San Francisco. There I worked for law firms and corporations. My last California position was librarian for the Apple legal department. Great job!

The high cost of living in the Bay Area bought me back to Southern Nevada in 1994. I retired from the Las Vegas Clark County Library District in 2003, but worked part time for Henderson Libraries. My last position there was in the children’s department. It was another great job!

Thirty plus years in Nevada. I’m hoping to spend many more years here doing work I enjoy and hiking in the great Southwest.

The Friends also wish Donna Harper well, who in spring stepped down from the Friends board but will remain a member. She spearheaded the Friends’ recent successful application for a grant from Desert Research Institute’s STEM Network Program to create and outfit more educational kits for our museum’s Traveling Trunks program, which loans learning materials to teachers throughout Clark County.

We’re so thankful that Harper - whose career in education stretched 40-plus years - has said she’ll stay active with our group, in addition to volunteering regularly under Stacy Irvin, the museum’s education curator.

Quick update on OAG grant

By Joan Whitely

Clark County recently notified Friends that we received $10,000 of the $11,000 OAG we requested, which is a grant of federal community-development dollars distributed at the local level. Friends will use the grant to pay for transportation of educational kits to/from classrooms and to build some new trunks. We are in the process of getting approval to reallocate funds on the assumption that local public schools will not resume in-person teaching until January 2021. With no fall 2020 transportation costs, we're moving money so we can create more trunks than originally projected.

restaurant voucher

On Aug. 22 enjoy great meal as you help Friends

By Joan Whitely

The Friends have circled back to Romano’s Macaroni Grill for our next restaurant benefit, which will run 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 22.

That day, for either lunch or dinner, the restaurant will donate to us 20 percent of the tab of every party that either mentions the Friends or shows our fundraiser voucher, displayed above – the Friends supporter pays nothing extra!

The one participating Macaroni Grill is at 2001 N. Rainbow Blvd., Las Vegas 89108, on the west side of Rainbow just north of Lake Mead Boulevard.

The fundraiser applies equally to parties who dine in and parties who dine out using either curbside delivery or conventional takeout (walking into the restaurant space designated for takeout customers). So if you’re still hesitant to eat in a restaurant dining room, you can still participate!

To order ahead for a meal to go, use the online menu. For curbside service, phone the restaurant at (702) 648-6688 when you arrive for pickup.

Louis clan gathered in 2006 at champion's grave in Arlington Cemetery.

Joe Louis an American hero, a Vegas hero

By Joan Whitely

Pro heavyweight boxer Joe Louis has ties to Las Vegas, both his own as well as through several of his children who live here today. At the Friends July 2020 meeting, the champion’s son-in-law George Joseph paid tribute by presenting highlights of Louis’ life - with the help of George’s wife, Candice, and several other members of the Louis family.

In May 1914 Joe Louis was born as Joe Louis Barrow into a Black sharecropper family in Alabama. But in a humorous aside before the Friends meeting started, Joseph explained how the short name came about. At an amateur event early in the athlete's career, he wrote his name so large in the space given that only “Joe Louis” would fit. Another published theory is that he didn't want his mom to find out about his boxing.

Louis reigned as world heavyweight champ for 12 years, from June 1937 until March 1949, which still stands as the longest heavyweight record.

Louis army
Published material about Louis from the war era.

Brown Bomber stood in for American democracy

Known as the Brown Bomber, Louis gained eternal fame in a key fight against white German boxer Max Schmeling, in 1938, before the United States entered World War II. Despite domestic racial tensions, white Americans rallied along with Blacks for Louis as a symbol of democracy vs. Schmeling, a symbol of Nazi tyranny. Louis’ first-round knockout was so strong it sent the German to the hospital with a back injury.

Schmeling served in the German military but was not a Nazi; it turned out he had harbored two Jewish orphans in 1938, according to various sources. Louis, too, served in the military, for four years starting in 1942, mostly doing exhibition matches for the U.S. Army, according to the website for Arlington Cemetery, where Louis is buried. The two, by the way, became friends after the war.

But aside from carving his own exalted niche in the world of sports, Louis also cleared the way for integration in terms of both audience and players, for several sports beyond boxing - by example and by advocating.

Over time, with his growing clout, Louis developed a personal policy, according to Joseph, to not accept a matchup unless the audience was integrated.

Louis also intervened in 1944 in the military career of a young pre-MLB Jackie Robinson, when he was threatened with a court martial for refusing to sit in the back of an Army bus at Fort Hood, Texas. Louis also paved the way for Robinson to play with whites in the Army’s football and baseball leagues. Next Robinson broke the racial barrier in U.S. baseball with his 1948 debut on the Brooklyn Dodgers.

According to the Josephs’ slideshow, Robinson said later, “I’m sure if it wasn’t for Joe Louis the color line in baseball would not have been broken for another 10 years.”

Louis’ fans are legion

Many of Louis’ accolades came up in the Josephs’ presentation. Notable Blacks from all fields praised him, including Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Maya Angelou. Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Frank Sinatra were also among his admirers.

"I feel like I'm finally meeting with God!" “Roots” author Alex Haley told Jet magazine in 1979 about meeting Louis.

The champion suffered periodic troubles with the Internal Revenue Service. But the IRS eventually stopped trying to collect after he was long retired, according to Arlington Cemetery’s website.

Louis LV years
In Las Vegas Louis enjoyed cowboy culture and daughter Candice, at right.

After moving to Las Vegas, Louis worked for a number of years as a host and greeter at Caesars Palace.

“He loved it,” answered Candice Joseph, putting to rest the notion that Louis might have felt casino work demeaning. “To be an aging fighter, to be able to gamble all day, shake hands with people, (and have them) tell how wonderful you are. All of us benefited,” she said with a laugh.

Joyce Louis Barrow Henderson, another Louis daughter who lives here, told the Friends audience, “How could you not be inspired by my dad’s commitment to racial justice, refusing to fight in front of segregated audiences, helping fellow athletes to break color barriers in tennis, baseball and golf? Who could not draw substance from my dad’s character and depth of determination by him serving his country while he was still not able to eat and sleep in certain places?”

Her summary of Joe Louis Barrow is simple: “My dad was an American hero.”

Stuff-a-Truck graphic

2020 Stuff-a-Truck coming so bag your extra stuff

By Jim Parish

The Friends will hold our second annual Stuff-a-Truck drive in autumn. The Las Vegas state museum’s acting director is currently clearing a September date with Springs Preserve management.

This campaign will cost you no money, doesn't require you to attend an event, maintains social distancing, and requires just a little effort to be successful!

We are collecting all your old items in good condition (clothing, small appliances, games, books, shoes, jewelry, tools, sports good, kitchenware, etc.) – everything you might toss in a spring or fall cleaning. Please, no furniture or books because the per-pound payment is too low to make them worth our effort.

We are hoping that everyone can gather together their duplicates and usable discards, and then donate it all to the Friends! Savers will pay us for donations by the pound, so the more you donate, the more money for the Friends to benefit Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas.

We ask everyone to donate three or four large trash bags of goods. Don’t go it alone; please contact your family, friends and neighbors and offer to deliver their donations, too. Get good stuff from everyone!

And do it now. Please don’t delay and forget! Take advantage of this no-cost way to support the Friends.

Subject to Springs Preserve approval, we expect the drop-off point to be the northwest corner of the upper lot at the Springs Preserve, where we will park several large pickup trucks for loading. Volunteers will be there to take your donations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. If requested, receipts for tax purposes will be provided.

If you are not able to drop off your donations that day, please let us know at so we can make arrangements for pickup. We will arrange pickups only for the two days prior to the Stuff-a-Truck date, still to be announced. A September Saturday is our hope, but we will provide final details soon.

The coronavirus has affected everyone, financially and otherwise, we realize. Yet the Stuff-a-Truck drive is an easy way for everyone to donate, at no cost, items around their house that are no longer needed. Please participate!

Friends’ XMAS in July painting class a success

By Jim Parish

On July 19, 17 Friends members with family and friends participated in a fun – and wine-filled – afternoon at Pinot’s Palette in Summerlin. Led by an experienced and entertaining instructor, we painted snowmen decorating a tree. With good instruction, and a little vino, it was amazing how well the paintings turned out.

The shop did everything possible to make our event a success – excellent service, a great instructor, participation limit at 50-percent capacity to facilitate social distancing, and a great atmosphere.

Attendees helped us raise $96.50 for the Friends. We really appreciate those 17 who paid and came. But the space allows about 30 people to social distance. If we'd had another 10 people, the Friends would have netted $292.50.

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the event and look forward to the next Friends class at Pinot’s. The event, the fun, and the painting were well worth the price. I encourage everyone to join in the next time.

To see the complete Friends of NSMLV schedule for the year, please go to our Events page.

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