Explore the Wayne Newton Museum!May 5, 2016
What does it take to create an entire museum from scratch?
First, it takes a large collection of items to display. Second, it takes a lot of “history,” or the stories around these items. And Wayne “Mr. Entertainment” Newton has both of these requirements in abundance.
Newton has been a world-class collector of mementos, antiques and treasures over the span of his career in entertainment, including six decades of performing in Las Vegas. It makes perfect sense that he’d open his own museum here!
The Museum is located on the estate grounds of Casa de Shenandoah. It’s a part of our tours, and now it also can be visited on its own with general admission for the special price of $19.95.
After passing through Casa de Shenandoah’s immense and ornate front gates, the Wayne Newton Museum is the first stop our shuttles make. Exiting the climate-controlled vehicles, visitors can look across the estate’s lush scenery with amazement at all the green grass and beautiful buildings about. (There’s also a jet airplane, but we’ll get to that shortly!)
Then, it’s on to the sliding doors to enter one of the most impressive attractions in Las Vegas.
To the right, visitors first pass by an installation honoring American MIA/POWs. Newton has had a close relationship with the U.S. Armed Forces throughout his life, and this touching scene is a testament to his commitment. He is a Chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle and has performed for American troops in every major conflict our country has been in since Vietnam, of which he visited twice.
Above, a vintage wooden rotor blade from an early helicopter serves as an artistic chandelier. Nearby, a number of display cases show hold more military and aviation keepsakes.
From here, it’s time to walk up a ramp to the 1968 Fokker 28 attached to the Museum. Wayne’s personal aircraft for decades, the aircraft has been meticulously decorated inside, including the addition of etched glass art that showcases Newton’s Native American heritage. A highlight for many visitors exploring the plane is sitting in the cockpit and taking selfies and group photos!
Next, visitors return to the main hall of the museum. Here, display cases are filled with letters and souvenirs given to Newton from numerous U.S. presidents, including Ronald Reagan. The two were close friends.
The next stop in the Museum centers on Newton’s incredible collection of luxury automobiles. In a grand hall, visitors will see such remarkable cars such as his silver 1959 Rolls-Royce, which was custom-designed with a luxurious interior. There’s also a rare, cherry-red 1933 Essex Terraplane made by the long-defunct Hudson Motor Car Company.
Also scattered about are interesting, one-of-a-kind items like Newton’s first childhood bicycle, his drum kit and the actual canoe “Gertrude” used in the hit movie, On Golden Pond.
From here, the next room is filled with colorful items from Newton’s musical career, such as photos of the entertainer Lucille Ball and a violin given to him by Jack Benny. Both were his mentors. There are also many photos of his name on glowing neon hotel signs from his decades as a headliner on the famous Strip and beyond.
In the center of the room are numerous original stage costumes worn by Newton in his live appearances stretching back to his youth in Virginia as well as in Phoenix, Ariz. Many of them are adorned in Country & Western motifs, as well as tribal symbols. The child-sized suits were hand-sewn by Newton’s mother when he was just getting started as a performer.
Near the exit of the museum is a notable sendoff—a pair of gorgeous artisan-crafted saddles featuring dramatic silver eagles heads for pommels. They reflect Newton’s great love of Arabian stallions, which he and his family raise just across the grounds at Aramus Stables.
Of course, this has been just a thumbnail view of the Wayne Newton Museum. It’s definitely a place to be experience first-hand and up-close. You never know what you’ll find on display!