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The Mob Museum explores history of organized crime

Courtesy Mob Museum

LAS VEGAS — The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement opens Feb. 14 in downtown Las Vegas.

The museum’s 16,800 square feet of interactive exhibits, films and artifacts deal with the mob’s influence in different eras, such as Prohibition, and its impact on industries such as money laundering and gaming.

The museum also deals with the mob’s relationship to Las Vegas. One exhibit, “the Skim,” dissects the illegal skimming of profits off the top of a casino’s earnings, which was commonplace in Las Vegas for decades and supplied money to hidden owners of the casino.

In addition, items and artifacts relating to law enforcement’s role in helping to eradicate and control the mob, such as weapons, wiretapping tools, tactics and crime scene photos, are part of the museum experience.

“Bringing Down the Mob” is a highly interactive exhibit that focuses on wiretapping. Visitors will learn about the technology, listen in on the mob, learn to interpret coded conversations, examine photos and surveillance footage, take part in a weapons-training exercise and learn about living a new life in witness protection programs.

The $42 million museum, whose artifacts include the brick wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, will open on the 83rd anniversary of the infamous killing of seven mobsters in a Chicago garage.

The museum is located in the 1930s-era former federal courthouse and post office that was the site of one of 14 Congressional hearings on organized crime in America in 1950 led by Sen. Estes Kefauver, D-Tenn.