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By Bill Bradley

The Action Network

The story goes that Las Vegas was built by the mob and run by the mob for decades.

It’s no myth – and the city has a world-class museum with receipts to prove it.

That’s just a fraction of what you will learn at The Mob Museum, which has quickly become a tourist destination in Downtown Las Vegas that presents the history of organized crime and its involvement in the city. The museum will host the opening night festivities for the 50th edition of the Associated Press Sports Editors summer conference on July 9.

The facility, also known as the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, has a mission to broaden the public’s understanding of organized crime and how it has affected America.

What’s inside? First, there’s three levels of artifacts, mementos and history from the world of organized crime, spanning old world stuff from Italy to the Al Capone era in Chicago to the behind-the-scenes workings of the original Vegas casinos. 

Think of an historic wall. Think weapons from the eras of the mob. Think of the contraband. Think of an electric chair (non-working, of course) that isn’t too cozy.

Speaking of hands-on experiences, the museum features many immersive exhibits, such as a crime lab, firearm training simulator and moonshine samples during a distillery tour.

Not to be forgotten is the hidden speakeasy in the basement, where you will find drinks that taste as authentic as the exhibits in the floors above.

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The building opened in 1933 as a post office and courthouse, which hosted the 1950 U.S. Senate hearings on organized crime. That courtroom also has a prominent display.

It was reopened 11 years ago after a renovation. The Mob Museum has since earned dozens of destination awards, including a designation from USA TODAY as the best attraction in Las Vegas. Multiple outlets have called it among the top museums in the nation.

Museum officials have a history of working with the media. For example, in the past five years they have collaborated with the Las Vegas Review-Journal on the award-winning “Mobbed Up” podcast and related symposiums. Season Two of the podcast was narrated by slain Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German, whose work has been featured in the museum.

The museum features three ways to learn about the facility: a self-guided tour, a tour guide for a group and a group scavenger hunt.

Pro tip: Take your time, start on the top floor and then head to the speakeasy or the souvenir shop.

P.S. Keep an eye out for the 1919 World Series ticket.