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The Gutenberg Museum: just a mural?

View of the Gutenberg Museum on south Main Street.
View of the Gutenberg Museum on south Main Street.
Osie Turner

Anyone who has driven down Main Street, just north of Charleston, has likely seen the beautiful front of a seemingly unoccupied building known only as “The Gutenberg Museum.” A google search will tell you that The Gutenberg Museum is part of the “City of 100 Murals” project that began in 2005 to celebrate Las Vegas’ centennial anniversary. The building is just a mural, nothing more. Simple enough, right?

Well, not so fast. There is actually much more to the story. As it turns out, it is true that the Latin verses and lettering is part of the 100 Murals project—it was painted by a local artist named Tom Umholtz—but the Gutenberg Museum name is not. A local Baptist reverend purchased the building in 2009 and planned to renovate it into a museum. It would have featured his family’s collection of rare bibles from around the world, according to letters filed with the city council.

Of course, the story gets a little stranger. The reverend seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth after the purchase. His church closed down, and the reverend is now nowhere to be found. Contact with the reverend’s family proved equally fruitless; his brother was, oddly, unable to even confirm the existence of the bible collection.

The Gutenberg Museum is, in the end, just a mural after all. It may have been a great contribution to our city’s cultural heritage, but, alas, like many other plans for Las Vegas, this one did not come to pass.

The mural can be found at 1068 S. Main St.