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Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Exhibition view of Las Vegas' Mob Museum show, Ready to Wear, exploring 1920s Chicago fashions (photo courtesy of the Mob Museum).
Free Museum Admission Offered for Nevada Residents, Buy-one Get-one Admission for Non-residents from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, will commemorate its seventh anniversary with a one-day-only special opportunity on Thursday, Feb. 14, presented in partnership with the Chicago History Museum. The event coincides with the 90th anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. For the first time, all visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to experience The Chicago 00 Project’s virtual reality experience dedicated to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, courtesy of a grant from the Union Pacific Foundation. In addition, Nevada residents will receive free admission and non-Nevada residents will receive buy-one, get-one admission all day beginning at 9 a.m.
“From the day the museum opened, on February 14, 2012, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre wall and related ballistics evidence have been among our most important artifacts. Because of these objects, the Museum stands uniquely positioned to tell this story,” explained Jonathan Ullman, president and chief executive officer, The Mob Museum. “We are delighted to partner with The Chicago 00 Project, a collaboration between the Chicago History Museum and Professor Geoffrey Alan Rhodes of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, to bring this new, technologically enhanced, historically rich insight into the Massacre to our visitors.”
Released in February 2017, this award-winning VR experience transports audiences to the exact spots where the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre events unfolded by superimposing images from then and now in virtual reality. Audiences can use their smartphones and wear Google Cardboard VR Goggles or use the museum’s latest technology, Oculus Go, on YouTube’s 360 channel to be immersed in the site. A narrator tells the story of the massacre while giving a virtual tour of five sites and more than 30 historical photos and documents from the Chicago History Museum’s archive. It provides eye-opening insights into the infamous Feb. 14, 1929 event, when Chicago police discovered the bodies of seven men, all shot in the back and riddled with bullets in a northside garage. The site and men were associated with the Prohibition-era bootlegging gangs, then led by Al Capone and Bugs Moran. The gruesome photographs of the scene ran on the front page of newspapers across the country and were some of the most influential crime photos in American history. The photos collected here—some well-known, some rare—tell this familiar Chicago story in a new and compelling way.
“The Chicago History Museum is pleased to work with The Mob Museum to mark the 90th anniversary of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre,” said John Russick, vice president, interpretation and education, Chicago History Museum. “The Chicago 00 virtual reality experience of the Massacre was designed to offer users a unique, immersive and visceral encounter with this terrible event, which helped shape the country's attitudes toward Prohibition and led to the prosecution and eventual incarceration of Al Capone."
The Chicago 00 Project was created to produce and publish a series of site-specific, interactive, immersive multimedia experiences designed to showcase the Chicago History Museum's film, photo and sound archive and share Chicago's stories in new and unique ways.
"All Chicago 00 new media projects were inspired by our team's fascination with historical images," said Rhodes. "The news photographs of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre are shocking–even today. Those pictures were hugely influential. Placing them into the actual site gives people a fresh way to see these astonishing images for what they are. The early 1900s filmmaker, D.W. Griffith, predicted that someday film technology would create experiences of history unlike anything that had come before. Maybe virtual and augmented reality are that prediction realized."
In addition to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall and the Chicago 00 experience, museum guests can see other permanent exhibits related to the massacre. Other artifacts include ballistics evidence recovered from the scene and original coroner’s documents concerning the victims and reports prepared by pioneering forensic scientist, Calvin Goddard.
For more information about the museum, call (702) 229-2734 or visit themobmuseum.org.
By Oscar Peterson