Liberace Museum shutting its doors

mainAfter 31 years of operation the Liberace Museum closed its doors on October 17. The decision to close the museum came as a result of the poor economy and decline in visitors.

A famous entertainer and pianist Liberace made a name for himself with his extravagant wardrobe and matching ornamented pianos. During the 1950s through the 1970s Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer in the world. In 1955 he opened the Las Vegas Riviera Hotel and Casino as the highest paid entertainer in the city’s history, earning $50,000 per week.

Not only did Liberace amaze audiences with his elaborate costumes he stood out as an entertainer because of his compassion for his fans. He transported his audiences to a dazzling world of color, joyful music, glittering costumes and humor. He reinvented the typical classical music concert an gave his audiences an experience that earned him the monicker “Mr. Showmanship.”

Throughout his career Liberace won numerous accolades including: Instrumentalist of the Year, Best Dressed Entertainer and Entertainer of the Year. He also earned two Emmy Awards, six gold albums and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s highest paid musician and pianist.

Liberace opened his museum in April 1979 as the key source of funding for the Liberace Foundation. He created his foundation in 1976 to benefit college students studying in the performing and creative arts. When Liberace passed away in February 1987 he left the majority of his estate to the foundation. Aside from getting to learn about the famous entertainer and see some of his lavish costumes and cars up close, guests who visited the museum helped donate to the foundation through their admission. Since its creation the foundation has awarded more than $6 million in scholarships to 2,700 students.

The good news is that Liberace’s collection including his exotic cars and a million-dollar wardrobe will still see the light of day. The memorabilia will continue to be maintained, and a national touring exhibit is being planned. The Liberace Foundation will also still continue to operate and raise money for scholarships.

It’s sad to say good-bye to this piece of Las Vegas history. Maybe with a little luck the collection and wardrobe that made Liberace an entertainment icon will find another permanent home somewhere else in Vegas.

Check out some of Liberace’s sparkling collection.

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There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Eda Risk at 9:09 pm

    I am so sad to hear of the closing of the Liberace Museum. My friend and I were fortunate to visit the museum several times. She is a ring fan and purchased both the grand piano ring and the candlelabra ring. The staff at the museum was so nice and helpful. they also told us many interesting things about Liberace. We also got to see two amazing tribute shows there. A few years ago the Elvis museum in Vegas shut down. It was also a wonderful place to go. There is now an Elvis exhibit at Imperial Palace. I hope that one of the other casinos on the strip could find room for a Liberace exhibit. Both Elvis and Liberace were very important to Vegas.

  2. ElvisAndretti at 11:16 am

    We were in Las Vegas in August to get married, the Museum was our second stop after getting the license. We enjoyed it immensly, it’s a shame it’s closing, I guess the aging demographcis of his fans made this inevitable. I hope they find a way to preserve the murals on the outside of the building where the costumes were displayed.

  3. James E. Kunkle at 9:30 pm

    I listened to every single Liberace show on TV back in the 50’s and 60’s when I was young. I own most every CD published on Liberace’s music. He was the “Greatest Piano Player” to ever live, and I still listen to his CD’s all the time, and never get tired of his music. I am so sad to learn the Museum will close, but I do understand the poor economy. I pray to God that some casino will save his collection, and sale his music.