This Friday Funny actually ends the week on a bittersweet note, particularly for those who consider themselves fans of the late great Liberace. After 31 years of operation, the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas will close its doors this Sunday, October 17, 2010.
“Sin City” has been particularly hard hit during the current economic downturn, and the museum’s location—two miles from the famous strip of casinos—has been an unfortunate obstacle in the quest to attract visitors to the entertainer’s glitzy tribute. Consequently, the Museum will close the space and administrators will redirect the Liberace Foundation’s focus primarily on its dedication to the Foundation and the donation of scholarships.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we feel it is important to close the Museum to ensure the future of the Liberace Foundation and to keep the legacy of Liberace alive through its continued scholarship program,” said Jeff Koep, chair of the Liberace Foundation. “Since the inception of the foundation 34 years ago, more than $6 million in scholarships has been awarded to 2,700 students, and we will continue to award scholarships to deserving individuals.”
The memorabilia at the Liberace Museum will be maintained. A national touring exhibit is planned, and details will be announced at a later time. The board will also continue to research options for a location change to make the Museum more accessible to potential patrons.
The story may have an upbeat coda. “The traveling exhibit is an exciting way to share the life and legacy of Liberace while providing an income stream for the Foundation,” said Koep. “In no way do we intend to close the doors and not continue to explore options that will allow us to reopen at a later date.”
So for those of you who can’t make it out to Vegas by Sunday, here are some of the highlights:
(Same piano, different angle)
(On a personal note, I am gutted that I missed the opportunity to tour this fabulous facility in all the visits I made to Vegas. For more on this story, see this piece from NPR.)