Best Ways to Experience Las Vegas Modernism

The Neon Museum presents Duck Duck Shed, a four-day event with over three dozen unique experiences about Las Vegas culture and design.

September 6, 2022
Story by Staff Report
Duck Duck Shed

The Stardust opened in 1958 at the world’s largest hotel.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DENISE SCOTT BROWN

Calling all history lovers, Las Vegas enthusiasts, and self-proclaimed architecture aficionados! Get ready to explore the history of Las Vegas and its effect on modern U.S. architecture. The Neon Museum presents Duck Duck Shed, a four-day event with over three dozen unique experiences about Las Vegas culture and design.

“Las Vegas has so many architectural gems and I’m excited that Duck Duck Shed will shine a national spotlight on the beautiful designs that have shaped our city’s history,” says city of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

The event highlights the city’s architectural character over the decades with programming offered on an a la carte basis so attendees attend the programs of their choice. The lineup includes presentations by nationally acclaimed speakers such as author, historian, urban planner, and architect Alan Hess and Jon Sparer, the famed architect behind prestigious international resorts such as Mirage, Paris Las Vegas, and Bellagio in Las Vegas.

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DRAWING COURTESY THE NEON MUSEUM
La Concha Motel schematic design.

Duck Duck Shed will also offer tours of historic Las Vegas neighborhoods and properties by foot and helicopter, including exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime tours of Siegfried and Roy’s Jungle Palace, a private estate not open to the public.

“The Neon Museum tells the stories of Las Vegas history through its iconic art form of neon,” says Aaron Berger, executive director of The Neon Museum. “However, neon signs are only one element of the city’s unique history in the fields of design and culture. Las Vegas’s architecture and design has evolved over the decades and inspired many. We are proud to launch Duck Duck Shed that will present the city’s history through its architecture with nationally renowned lecturers and unforgettable experiences.”

Duck Duck Shed will focus on the themes from the book, Learning From Las Vegas, which first introduced the Duck Duck Shed concept 50 years ago. The authors penned the idea that buildings are either “ducks” that explicitly represent their function through their unique shape and design or “decorated sheds” that are more generic structures whose signs and décor denote their purpose.

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Inside the historic La Concha Motel lobby is The Neon Museum Visitors’ Center.

Examples of this academic concept over the course of Las Vegas history include the Tropicana ,which opened in 1957, and Resorts World, which opened just last year as “decorated sheds” and the Excalibur and Circus Circus as “ducks.”

“Since its founding, Las Vegas has never ceased to amaze, innovate, and astonish,” says Alan Hess, who will present Oct. 27 at the Legacy Club on the 60th floor of the Circa Resort and Casino. “The Neon Museum is right to keep the spotlight on how it came to be, and the lessons it still has to reveal.”

Duck Duck Shed will culminate with a black-tie gala at Jungle Palace to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Neon Museum at its current location on Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas.

Duck Duck Shed is presented by The Neon Museum and sponsored by the Commission for the Las Vegas Centennial. For full details on event programming and to register for tours, exhibits, or lectures, visit duckduckshed.com and follow The Neon Museum on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.