Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO, Salt Lake City), which has helped keep Las Vegas’ neon glowing for over a century, will be the subject of an exhibit, Lighting Up Las Vegas: YESCO Marks a Glittering Century, presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and the Neon Museum. The exhibit, which runs May 6-August 29, features archival photos and artifacts to take viewers through that history.
“Las Vegas has really been long associated with neon signs. It’s really been a defining element of Las Vegas and the city’s popular image,” says exhibit co-curator Derek Weis. “And YESCO has been one of the major players that’s really shaped that over the decades—not just neon, but [also] up to the present day with all the modern LED screens and stuff like that on the strip.”
For the joint exhibit, Clark County Museum showed a collection of artifacts it collected from the company’s history. Many photos and individual letters from signs are included in this exhibit. Although initially planned to open in March 2020 on YESCO’s centennial anniversary, the exhibition was postponed due to COVID-19 and the many shutdowns.
English immigrant Thomas Young founded YESCO as the Thomas Young Sign Co. in 1920 in Ogden, UT. YESCO has supplied the Strip and other companies with many of its spectacular signs since the 1920’s.
LVCVA Archivist Kelli Luchs and co-curator Weis say the partnership with the Neon Museum helped to create a unique, in-depth exhibit. “They had the signs. We had the photos. So, the partnership was really perfect to be able to work together to showcase the history of neon in Las Vegas,” he says.
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