Museums Administrator Mark Hall-Patton, widely popular for his appearances on the “Pawn Stars” television show, is retiring and was recognized today for his contributions by the Clark County Commission.
Commissioners declared it Mark Hall-Patton Day throughout Greater Las Vegas and Clark County and Commissioner Jim Gibson, whose district includes the Clark County Museum, bestowed him a Key to the Las Vegas Strip.
Hall-Patton, a County employee since December 1993 but museums administrator since December 2007, has appeared on more than 200 episodes of the Pawn Stars series on the History Channel. Commensurate with the show’s growth in popularity came a near doubling in visitation to the Clark County Museum, increasing from about 22,000 in 2010 to about 42,000 annually prior to the pandemic.
“Mark, dubbed the ‘Beard of Knowledge,’ has become something of a celebrity not just in Las Vegas but throughout the world due to his many appearances on ‘Pawn Stars,’” said Commissioner Gibson. “But his role in telling the story of Las Vegas and Southern Nevada history goes well beyond that celebrity. He has written numerous articles, conducted countless media interviews and done extensive work at the Clark County Museum and elsewhere to ensure that our history is preserved.”
Hall-Patton began working for Clark County Dec. 4, 1993, hired to create the McCarran Aviation Heritage Museum and given the responsibility the following year for the art gallery space at the airport for a year. During the 1990s and early 2000s, he added historical display cases throughout McCarran International Airport, Henderson Executive Airport and North Las Vegas Airport, all part of the County aviation system.
His first major video production came in 1996 when “A History of Aviation in Southern Nevada” was completed and shown as two half-hour shows called “Plane Talk” for what is now called Clark County Television (CCTV). It was also shown on the History Channel and won a Gold Aurora award. The next year, Hall-Patton started writing and producing “Barnstorming Nevada,” eventually doing 51 in the series over the next 11 years. In 2002, he completed “A View from the Top,” a one-hour history of McCarran International Airport.
In 1999, the airport museum was officially renamed the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum after former U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon. The Hacienda Cessna aircraft which hangs over the north end of baggage claim was restored under Hall-Patton’s direction and was dedicated on June 22, 2000.
In 2005, Las Vegas celebrated its centennial, linked to the auction of William Andrews Clark's Las Vegas Townsite properties on May 15, 1905. Hall-Patton worked with Boyd Gaming to put on the Centennial Air Parade, a flight of antique aircraft down the Las Vegas Strip
In December 2007, Mark Ryzdynski retired as administrator of the Clark County Museum and Hall-Patton assumed the role for all County museums, including one in Searchlight.
In 2009, Clark County celebrated the centennial of its founding. Hall-Patton hosted a history series called “Centennial Stories” for CCTV. He also wrote “Asphalt Memories,” a book about local street names, published for the centennial, and worked with County employee Dorothy Wright on other centennial activities, including the restoration and opening of the Candlelight Wedding Chapel on the museum’s popular Heritage Street. The wedding chapel had been moved there from its original location on the Las Vegas Strip.
In July 2009, Pawn Stars debuted on air and Hall-Patton appeared in one of the pilot episodes. He appeared in his 200th episode in October. The show airs in 150 countries.
Back at the museum, the Railroad Cottage restoration was completed Nov. 16, 2013. The final restoration effort at the museum was that of the Grand Canyon Airlines Ticketing Office/Bradley House, restored by the Clark County Museum Guild, and opened in February 2020. In 2019, he helped add an outreach exhibit at the Moapa Valley Community Center.
Hall-Patton has served on the board of the Nevada Museums Association for 15 years, twice as president, and on the board of the Western Museums Association, and on the board or serving as an advisor to numerous other historical groups. He has spoken to numerous professional organizations, including the American Alliance of Museums, Western Museums Association, Nevada Museums Association, Peter F. Drucker Management Class, Western Writers of America, Western History Association. He has been a keynote speaker for such groups as the Western Museums Association, the Southwest Section of the Ninety Nines, Mensa, the Arizona Preservation Association and the National Genealogical Society.
Hall-Patton has written 85 local or regional history articles, monographs, or book chapters, and more than 50 local historical plaques which dot Southern Nevada.
Tuesday’s recognition will be carried live with the rest of the County Commission meeting at www.Facebook.com/ClarkCountyNV, https://www.youtube.com/user/ClarkCountyNV/live and on CCTV, which is available in the Las Vegas area on Channel 4/1004 on Cox cable and on CenturyLink on Channels 4 and 1004 as well as in Laughlin on Channel 14 via Suddenlink. CCTV is also available in Boulder City on Channel 4 and in Moapa Valley on Digital Channel 50.3. One may watch CCTV on streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV via the YouTube app.
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 11th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to 2.4 million citizens and 45.6 million visitors a year (2019). Included are the nation’s 9th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to 1.1 million residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.