Las Vegas is rich in history. Multiple histories, as a matter of fact. This is big country, with a great and diverse heritage that is worthy of protecting and preserving.
The Las Vegas Museum plays a critical role in doing just that. It helps us keep and appreciate our heritage. And that’s why the latest success of the Friends of the City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection is so important.
The Friends recently announced that it has, over a five-year period, raised $100,000 for the museum’s endowment fund. The money will be used for a variety of purposes — educational exhibits and programs, promoting and publishing scholarly works, care for artifacts and collections, and more. Already the museum has expanded its program offerings via Kristen Hsueh, who coordinates educational programs with great enthusiasm. Her efforts, as well as the hard work of many others, contributed to a reported 50 percent increase in museum attendance this past year. If you haven’t been there, you should make it a point to visit.
More than all that, however, is the fact that the endowment will give the museum and its collections a level of financial backing that will remain in place for years to come.
The endowment was raised with a variety of fund-raising drives, including an annual raffle and dance, and some sizable individual donations. The fact that Friends was able to raise so much money is a testament to the community’s appreciation of its history.
Las Vegas resident Tibor Remenyik, who died last summer at age 83, was one of the founders of the museum’s Friends group. His own rich history — he came of age in a war-torn Eastern Europe during World War II — didn’t intersect with Las Vegas’ until the 1980s.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, he left as a teenager with his family in 1944 as the Russian Army advanced into his native country. By 1964, he had become a naturalized American citizen — and a true patriot in his strongly held belief in the rights of citizenship. Twenty years later, he came to Las Vegas to teach geology at New Mexico Highlands University. He and his wife of 51 years — Janet, a dedicated citizen in her own right — never left, opting instead to contribute as they could to the betterment of this community.
The museum became a great passion of Tibor Remenyik’s. And with this latest endowment, we can picture him smiling down — proud of his adopted community’s achievement.