About

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.

Our Mission

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.

Our History

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 finalized the move to our home in Las Vegas’s art district, which includes:

  • Vastly expanded exhibitions:
    • The history of burlesque, from the late 1800s to today
    • The rise of neo-burlesque and Exotic World’s role in connecting the new generation and the old
    • Costumes, props and other artifacts from burlesque’s history (including Board member Dita Von Teese’s martini glass/bath, Gypsy Rose Lee’s traveling trunk, and costumes from Sally Rand and Rose La Rose)
  • A changing exhibition space for thematic exhibitions, theater marquees, posters, and paintings
  • The Bawdy Shop Studio, a learning space for hosting classes, exhibitions, lectures, readings, and film screenings
  • Onsite cataloged storage and preservation of our unique collection, accessible by researchers
  • Gift shop featuring books, t-shirts and all kinds of burlesque goodies

Our Values

The Burlesque Hall of Fame is committed to operating with integrity, openness, compassion, and respect. As such:

  • We provide all visitors with a warm and welcoming environment in which to learn, experience, and create.
  • We view our collection as a legacy for the future and strive to maintain its integrity through appropriate conservation and thoughtful acquisition.
  • We will operate and be governed to the highest attainable standards of transparency, accountability, and professionalism.
  • We respect the topics we cover and the people whose lives we represent, and encourage our audiences, visitors, staff, volunteers, and communities to do the same.
  • We are committed to fair and just treatment of all people, regardless of their race, creed, nationality, degree of bodily ability, age, appearance, sex, gender, orientation, or socioeconomic status.
  • We serve our community and welcome the active participation of its members.