The Burlesque Hall of Fame is the world’s premier organization dedicated to preserving the living legacy of burlesque as an artform and cultural phenomenon. With a collection of several thousand costumes, stage props, photographs, and personal effects documenting the careers and lives of burlesque dancers, comics, and producers over nearly a century, the museum is a growing testament to the power and social impact of the art of the tease.
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, thatbecame 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 hopes of establishing a permanent, first-rate tourist attraction and research/exhibition space for our one-of-a-kind collection. After nearly a decade in the Emergency Arts building in the heart of a revitalized Vegas Downtown, we announced our move to a new home in Las Vegas’s art district, which will include:
- 3,000 square feet of exhibition and program space (which will provide room for rotating exhibitions on a variety of themes featuring the more 3,500 artifacts in our collection (including costumes, props, photos, posters, written material and much more)
- Spaces specifically for programs such as performances, readings, classes and events, as well as offices, a retail gift shop, and space to store, catalogue and preserve our unique collection
The Burlesque Hall of Fame is a nonprofit museum committed to preserving, sharing, celebrating, and inspiring the art of burlesque.
We act as a hub for the growing community of burlesque enthusiasts and provide a dynamic connection between the unique history of burlesque and the art form’s future. We seek out, collect, protect and exhibit artifacts and ephemera of burlesque’s past and we showcase performances of its practice. We reach out within and beyond our community to broaden understanding and proactively position burlesque’s social context and help shape its ongoing cultural relevance.
Our founders’ passions continue to drive us to instill and demonstrate respect for our diverse heritage, to promote lifelong learning through direct engagement with the living legends of our art, and to continually strengthen our ability to contribute positively to the future of burlesque.