From its humble beginnings as the personal collection of Jennie Lee, the legendary tassel-twirler who first dreamed of a “Burlesque Hall of Fame” in the early 1950s, to its present-day incarnation as the world’s largest and most important archive of vintage burlesque ephemera, The Burlesque Hall of Fame has been one of the world’s only institutions dedicated to preserving the art, artifacts and traditions of this uniquely modern art form.
It was Jennie’s wish that this institution not only honor Burlesque’s memory, but also its future. A founding member of the Exotic Dancers League, she was devoted to keeping “the girls” together. As such, in addition to her dream of a world class museum, Jennie’s plans for the Hall of Fame included affordable housing for retired dancers, as well as a school for aspiring stripteasers, who could train there alongside Burlesque’s remaining greats.
Unfortunately, Jennie passed away before she was able to see her dream realized. However, thanks to her dear friend and fellow entertainer, Dixie Evans, it was far from lost. For 15 years after Jennie’s death in 1990, Dixie took up Jennie’s mantle, creating a museum in Helendale, CA, that became a pilgrimage site for not only previous generations of performers but the new generation of “neo-burlesque” performers looking to the past as a model for their own futures.
In 2006, the Burlesque Hall of Fame relocated from Helendale to Las Vegas, NV, in the hopes of establishing a permanent, first-rate tourist attraction and research/exhibition space for our one-of-a-kind collection. From 2010 to 2017, the museum occupied a space in the Emergency Arts building in the Vegas Downtown, but only a small part of our several-thousand-piece collection was able to be displayed at any given time.
Today, the museum occupies a 3000 sq ft space in a new building at 1027 S Main St #110, in the heart of the Las Vegas Arts District. In addition to our permanent exhibition detailing the history of burlesque in the United States, the museum offers a selection of rotating exhibitions; hosts classes, workshops, and other special events; produces local shows; organizes screenings, readings, and book signings; and houses a museum store offering books, records, and unique souvenirs.