Las Vegas’ Burlesque Hall of Fame is many things. It’s a theatrical education and preservation nonprofit, a small museum space at Emergency Arts, and a wildly popular annual celebration of tassels on boobies. But for the purposes of this discussion, it’s a collection of priceless burlesque memorabilia—items that covered the astonishing figures of Jayne Mansfield and Tempest Storm, albeit briefly.
It’s a collection that, due to the imminent widening of Interstate 15, has to be moved from its current location. And according to BHOF director Dustin Wax, the process is anything but simple or cheap.
“I wouldn’t say the situation is dire, though it’s a lot of work to do in a short period of time,” Wax says. Everything must be examined, inventoried, and packed before it’s moved, and the process must be done in reverse at the other end. And the current storage space isn’t exactly serviceable: It’s jammed with boxes and offers no room for cataloguing, let alone the display-building and restoration work other museums take for granted.
That’s why the Burlesque Hall of Fame is holding an online fundraiser through Aug. 31. Instead of simply moving the collection from one tight spot to another, Wax wants to find a new space that would allow the BHOF to actually interact with its collection.
“By upgrading our space, we’ll be able to acquire new material which will turn up in exhibits over time—and to make better use of some of the older pieces that need a lot of loving care to be made ready for exhibition,” Wax says.
At press time, the BHOF is about halfway to its goal of $20,000. If you’re at all fascinated by the idea of a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style warehouse of crates filled with pasties and spangled bras, you can donate to the cause at Indiegogo.com/BHOF.