The crosses memorializing those who perished at the 1 October incident on display at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign will be moved to the Clark County Museum on Sunday Nov. 12.
Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson and the creator of the crosses, Greg Zanis, made the announcement today.
"In the aftermath of 1 October, Las Vegans needed a place to converge and reflect on the events of that terrible day," said Commissioner Gibson. "The placement of the crosses at the Welcome sign was a natural fit, providing Las Vegas a poignant and well-received memorial around which the community came together as one. I want to thank Mr. Zanis for his gift to the community and am gratified that he has agreed to turn them over to the Clark County Museum. We will take great care of them."
Zanis, a carpenter from Chicago, said, "Las Vegas has been the most receptive community that I've ever put memorials in in my 20 years of doing this," Zanis said, "and I thank God for their acceptance of my gift to them." Zanis has created 20,300 crosses for display across the country during that time.
In addition to the crosses, the Clark County Museum is collecting tributes left in public rights of way in response to the 1 October incident so that they can be preserved and catalogued.
"In the aftermath of the events that took place on 1 October, the Southern Nevada community united itself as never before. In the face of unspeakable tragedy, we saw strength, resiliency and compassion. Regular people became heroes as they cared for the injured, risking their own lives to save others. Our first responders were called into action like never before, and we will forever be grateful for their incredible efforts.
We must memorialize the strength of this community by preserving the tributes to the extent that we can for cataloguing and for the benefit of present and future generations of Las Vegans," said Commissioner Gibson, whose district includes the museum, the site of the Route 91 Harvest Festival and one-half of the Welcome sign site.
"It is so important that we preserve as much as we can from this chapter in our community's history so that present and future generations never forget what happened and how our community responded," Commissioner Gibson said. "Our community response to the 1 October incident has been remarkable, and that is reflected in the tributes that you see up and down the Strip and at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign."
At the appropriate time, the tributes and other artifacts would be sensitively displayed at the museum. Some materials have already been collected from the County's rights of way, which include the entire Las Vegas Strip. Some of those items that have been collected are materials deemed unsafe or in danger of being blown away by heavy winds. Others will be collected at a later date.
Located at 1830 S. Boulder Highway, the 30-acre museum features more than 1 million artifacts. Indoor exhibits chronicle the area's history from prehistoric to modern times. Visitors can feel a mammoth tooth, try a Paiute game or spin a wheel of fortune. Artifacts from the Paiute, Mohave, and Chemehueve tribes are on display, as well as mining and ranching artifacts, and items from Las Vegas's early gaming and entertainment history. A small gift shop sells books about local history and classic children's toys. Visitors also can stroll along shady Heritage Street to take self-guided tours of a collection of homes and buildings that have been moved to the museum's grounds and restored to reflect Southern Nevada's past. Highlights include a recreated ghost town, the former Candlelight wedding chapel that existed near the Riviera Hotel on the Strip, and a turn-of-the century railroad cottage from Downtown Las Vegas.
The museum attracts more than 40,000 visitors a year. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Those interested in donating 1 October artifacts to the museum should email the museum at cynthia.sanford@ClarkCountyNV.gov.