The Mob Museum has an offer you can’t refuse.
Friday, Nov. 15, the museum, officially known as The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, will offer free admission for Nevada residents and buy one, get one free admission for tourists to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Kefauver Committee hearings in Las Vegas.
The U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce began a series of hearings in 1950 to focus a spotlight on organized crime in America. The hearings were held in 14 cities across the United States.
On Nov. 15, 1950, U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver (Democrat-Tennessee) led the hearing in Las Vegas, which took place at the federal courthouse and U.S. Post Office (now The Mob Museum).
The hearings were instrumental in focusing the nation’s attention on the prevalence of organized crime in America.
“While these hearings shed light on the prevalence of organized crime throughout the United States, their outcome arguably shaped the evolution of Las Vegas as much as any other single event,” said Jonathan Ullman, executive director, The Mob Museum. “The crackdown on illegal gambling that followed the hearings drove operators to Las Vegas and Nevada — known as the ‘open city’ — and the only city/state in the country where gambling was then legal.”
Additionally, the hearings were televised. Estimates are that 20 to 30 million people watched the hearings — double the audience of the 1950 World Series. The hearings weren’t censored and the American public heard frank and, at times, risqué comments. The hearings were considered history in the making and school systems even dismissed students early so they could watch them with their parents.
“November 15 is an especially important date to us at The Mob Museum because our building houses the restored Federal courtroom where, on that date in 1950, the Las Vegas Kefauver Committee hearing took place,” Ullman said.
The Mob Museum, located in Downtown Las Vegas, will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15.