The Liberace Museum, now closed, is our Museum of the Day for Tuesday, January 14, 2014.
“Behind the Candelabra,” an HBO feature film that earned Michael Douglas a Golden Globe this past Sunday, features the star as the famed pianist and Liberace’s partner, Scott Thorson, is portrayed by Matt Damon. The museum closed in 2010 due to economic struggles, and the exhibits never “came out” with the truth about the nature of Liberace’s relationship with Thorson.
Liberace himself opened the museum on April 15, 1979. His brother George became the director. The museum was part of the Liberace Plaza, where his restaurant was also located. The museum had two buildings: The Jewelry and Costume Gallery, and the other building where the pianos and cars were showcased.
On October 17, 2010, the Liberace Museum closed “indefinitely, but not forever” according to Liberace Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Jeffrey Koep. The closure was announced due to economic downturn and a decline in the number of visitors. A tour of the Liberace collection is planned. The museum’s board of directors is continuing to seek a new home for the museum on Las Vegas strip, but the efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.
As of 2013, the Liberace Foundation was exhibiting the collection at temporary exhibitions. As of December 2013, the Foundation was exhibiting Liberace’s collection at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, in an exhibition titled “Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful: Liberace and the Art of Costume.”
Here’s a YouTube clip that shows the museum collections
It is said that megastars like Elton John, Boy George and even Lady Gaga can attribute their artistic flamboyancy to Liberace. Perhaps with the new HBO film, Liberace’s legacy will be revived and the museum can find a more suitable venue that will re-engage old fans and bring in new audiences.