Scarface. Does the term ring a bell? For sure, there are some of you who are familiar with it. After all, it is the nickname of one of the most notorious gangsters in the history of organized crime: Al Capone.
Al Capone is a name you wouldn’t miss in mob history. He dominated the bootlegging and speakeasies operations in Chicago during the Prohibition Era, a period in America wherein it is banned to manufacture, transport, and sell alcohol and a period that marked the rise of mobs.
Capone not only became popular for his criminal operations but also for the murder accusations against him. He was dubbed as the “Public Enemy Number One” because of murders, such as The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, he was associated with.
So, why are we talking about Capone? Well, his life and his contributions to mob history are examples of what a museum in Downtown Las Vegas features. Located along 300 Stewart Avenue, The Mob Museum is the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. Basically, it presents mob history through interactive exhibits and artifacts.
Initially, the building that houses The Mob Museum was the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse. Later in 2002, the federal officials sold the building to the City of Las Vegas for $1 under the condition that the building will be preserved as a cultural center. The mayor back then, who used to be a defense attorney of mobsters, suggested that the building feature mob history. In 2012, such idea materialized and the Mob Museum was opened.
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ORGANIZED CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
The Mob Museum features a total of nineteen exhibits. Some of the noteworthy stuff to look forward to in the exhibits are a wall featuring the most notorious gangsters, a 17-inch touch wall where you can find out the location of organized crimes today, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall, and many more!
In the first floor of the museum, there are two exhibits that will surely get you extra excited! These are the Crime Lab Experience and Firearm Simulator Training. The former is where you will be able to explore the work of professionals getting evidence to detect crime and the reason behind it such as DNA profilers and fingerprint analysts.
Only those 11 years old and above are eligible to enter the Crime Lab Experience. Additionally, a companion is required among those under 16 years old. The exhibit is open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
The Firearm Training Simulator, on the other hand, is where you’ll discover the training that law enforcers go through to prepare themselves for situations where they need to use force. You will engage in both digital and live role-playing scenarios of this type of situations. You will hold a CO2 pistol and wear a police officer duty belt throughout the experience too! Pretty exciting, right?
Only those 16 years old and above can experience the Firearm Training Simulator. Additionally, minors need to present parental consent. The Firearm Training Simulator is available from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Thought that’s all there is to The Mob Museum? There’s more! The basement of the museum or more popularly called as The Underground holds two more exhibits: The Speakeasy and The Distillery. Both exhibits will take you in on an immersive experience of the Prohibition Era.
From the name itself, The Speakeasy is an exhibit that lets you experience the speakeasy or bars that illegally sells liquors during the Prohibition Era. Back then, speakeasies also served as an avenue for the rise of the jazz music style.
The Speakeasy exhibit includes a well-stocked bar, a stage, artifacts, videos, and much more! Of course, it wouldn’t be a speakeasy if you can’t taste the liquors of the Prohibition Era. So, yes, its bar is open for you! Here’s the menu for you to review.
Since alcohol is banned during the Prohibition Era, mobs either smuggled liquors or produced moonshine themselves. The Distillery features these stories. The main attraction of the Distillery is the copper still.
The Underground also holds events. It holds live jazz music events for a certain period each month. You may also book it for private events.
Oh, one more thing, before you even reach The Underground, you will already have a feel of the Prohibition Era because of the Alleyway, the way going to The Underground. Among many others, you will hear recordings of those who advocate and oppose the Prohibition as you go through it.
THE PROHIBITION ERA
It is inevitable and even crucial to discuss the Prohibition Era in tackling mob history. It is, after all, a time where mobs proliferated. One reference site even claimed that the period practically created mobs.
The Prohibition Era lasted from 1920 to 1933. It was indicated in the 18th amendment and enforced through the Volstead Act. It was the result of the strong call for temperance back in the early 20th century. The call was from women who claimed that alcohol is a strong contributor to the destruction of families and marriages, factory owners who wanted to increase the efficiency of their workers, and some religious groups.
The mobs saw alcohol ban as an opportunity to earn money illegally. Mobs began bootlegging operations or the illegal manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol. They either smuggled liquors or produced liquor on their own.
America also saw an increase in gang violence during the Prohibition Era. Mobsters were fighting against each other to remain at the top of the competition of liquor supplier. An epitome of this was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
These problems led to the declining support for the Prohibition Act. On 1933, Congress proposed a 21st amendment that would invalidate the 18th amendment or the Prohibition Act. It was approved before 1933 ended, marking the end of the 13-year Prohibition Era.
Some states continued the ban even after the 21st amendment was approved. Nonetheless, all states ceased the ban by 1966.
The prohibition era led to many cultural changes. Some of them are the rise of jazz music, the advancement of women’s rights, and the prevalence of dating instead of courtship.
BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW!
Indeed, the Mob Museum holds one of the darkest histories of America. Nonetheless, it is sometimes through looking back to the darkness of the past that we appreciate the light of the present much more. See, taste, and learn the past in an exciting way. Book your tickets to the Mob Museum now!
The Mob Museum is open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. The Underground, on the other hand, is open from 9:00 am until midnight. For early closures of the museum, check out this link.