Las Vegas: Polaroid museum recalls genius of the ‘Apple of its day’

The newest Fotobar location -- this one in Las Vegas -- features not only retail space (pictured) but a museum of Polaroid photography on the second floor, including cameras like the Electric Eye pictured in the inset.
(Fotobar retail store photo by Fotobar; inset shot by Leif Skandsen/ Wikimedia Commons)
<i>This post has been corrected, as indicated below</i>

Those instant cameras that Polaroid popularized in the mid-20th century (“Meet the Swinger! The Polaroid Swinger!”) are now right where they belong: in a museum in Las Vegas.

You’ll find the museum in the two-story Polaroid Fotobar shop at the Linq, the new entertainment and retail complex along the Strip. The Fotobar stores — there are four in Florida besides the Vegas location — offer photo gifts created from your own photography.

Polaroid, its museum website says, was the Apple of its day. Its foldable SX-70, the low-cost Swinger ($19.95) and the Polaroid One-Step are among the cameras that made instant photos all the rage.

In 1974, the museum website says, “a billion Polaroid photos were taken.”


Today, Polaroid says, about 380 billion photos are taken each year, many on cell phones.

Those cellphone pictures and other digital devices rendered film, including Polaroid’s instant-developing variety, obsolete.

Several cameras and other artifacts previously in the Polaroid collection at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Mass., have made their way West. Relics such as a giant, 20x24 Polaroid camera invented in 1976 are showcased alongside works by Andy Warhol and other artists who incorporated Polaroid photography into their creative efforts.

The museum also has a foothold in the 21st century. Its mobile photography exhibit consists completely of photos submitted by members of the Instagram community.

The first-floor retail space will appeal to those who still want to display their favorite images. Employees called Fototenders will help customers preserve their pictures on a variety of products, using materials such as bamboo, metal and stone.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, until midnight Thursday and Sunday and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Museum admission is $10.

Info: 702-734-0227.

[For the record, 4:50 p.m. April 24: A previous version of this post incorrectly said there were three Fotobar stores in Florida. There are four.]

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