THE MORELLI HOUSE
History of the Morelli House Public Program
Since the public debut of the Morelli House in April of 2007, the Morelli House Preservation Project has accomplished its mission to provide public access to the Morelli House, which is privately owned and utilized as the administrative headquarters by the Junior League of Las Vegas. Each year, the Morelli House Public Program Committee builds upon the research and programs developed from the previous year to bring new and former audiences to the Morelli House; to provide educational programs about Las Vegas mid-century history; to provide a cultural venue for the community; and, to demonstrate the importance of historic preservation in Las Vegas and the state of Nevada.
Public Viewing Opportunities of the Morelli House
The Junior League invites the public to view its historic mid century Morelli House during pre-scheduled group tours, public open houses held throughout the year, special educational programs related to the house and its history, and for its use by community non-profit groups as a meeting/event venue on a limited basis.
Pre-Scheduled Group Tours at the Morelli House
The Junior League offers pre-scheduled group tours upon request for groups of ten or more people. The tour, which lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, is conducted by Junior League volunteer docents from the Morelli House Public Program Committee who explain the history and architecture of the house; the life and times of its original owners, Antonio and Helen Morelli; and the story about the preservation project itself. There is no charge for the tour, but donations are always welcome. To make arrangements for a group tour, call the Junior League office manager at 702-822-6536.
Public Open House Tours
Public Open House tours of the Morelli House are scheduled throughout the year. The open houses are free and open to the public and are advertised in the local media and on the Morelli House website (www.morellihouse.org) and the Junior League of Las Vegas Website (www.jllv.org). Occasionally, there are special exhibits and programs held in tandem with the Open House events.
Public Educational Programs
The Junior League presents special educational and cultural programs related to the Morelli House and Las Vegas mid-century history in order to further the interpretive mission of the preservation project. These programs are advertised in the local media and on the Morelli House and Junior League of Las Vegas Websites.
Use of the Morelli House by Other Non-Profit Groups and Municipal Entities
In order to promote voluntarism and to utilize the Morelli House as a cultural venue for the community, the Junior League of Las Vegas offers the use of the Morelli House to other non-profit, non-partisan, non-religious organizations and municipal entities for meetings and events on a limited basis, depending upon availability and suitability. The use of the Morelli House by individual groups is limited to once a year. (June 1-May 31). The Morelli House is not available for private social events held by individuals or for fundraising events by other groups. For more information call the Junior League office manager at 702-822-6536.
Morelli House Interpretive Materials
Developed and Produced by the Morelli House Public Program Committee
PRINTED AND MULTI-MEDIA MATERIALS
The Morelli House Booklet
The Morelli House Booklet is the official definitive explanation about the architectural significance and historic provenance of the Morelli House that features a commissioned essay, “A New Architecture for a New City” that was researched and written by mid century architectural historian and author, Alan Hess. The booklet, edited by Carole Cosgrove Terry, also includes many photos from the Morelli Family Photo Collection, information about the Morelli House preservation project, Vladimir Kagan’s mid century furniture, and the Junior League’s legacy of community service. The full color, 24 page booklet is provided to guests who visit the Morelli House. The first printing and the commission of Mr. Hess’s services were funded by a grant from Nevada Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The second printing was funded by a grant from the City of Las Vegas Legacy Centennial Fund.
The Morelli House Brochure
The tri-fold brochure about the Morelli House is utilized to promote awareness about the House and its historic significance and to explain opportunities for the public to view the House. The printing and production of the brochure was funded by a grant from the City of Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission’s Centennial Grant funds.
The Morelli House Dedicated Website: www.MorelliHouse.org
The creation of a dedicated website about the Morelli House and the Morelli House Preservation Project was funded, in part, by a grant from the City of Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission’s Centennial Fund. The website features the full contents of the Morelli House Booklet about the architectural and historic significance of the House; links to all multimedia interpretive materials; biographical information about Antonio and Helen Morelli; information about the preservation project and its public interpretive programs.
CD: Oral History Interview with Helen Morelli and Original Music conducted by Antonio Morelli
Fortunately, audio documentation of Helen Morelli and Antonio Morelli had been preserved.
In l976, the Oral History Research Center of the University of Nevada Library’s Special Collection Department created a taped interview of Helen Morelli recalling her memories as the wife of Antonio Morelli and her recollections of their life in Las Vegas. Jerry Masini, a graduate student in history at UNLV at the time, was the interviewer. Also, some recordings of Antonio Morelli’s community concerts had been saved and were given to the Junior League and were re-recorded by the Arnold Shaw Musical Archives at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Helen Morelli’s interview and selected excerpts from these tapes featuring Antonio Morelli’s commentary and performances by his community orchestra and soloists were made into a CD that was distributed to the audience at the “Morelli and His Music” program held on April 2, 2009 and are currently made available to music history scholars and other interested parties.
To listen to this CD click here. (link)
Video Production: “Morelli and His Music”
On April 2, 2009, the Junior League of Las Vegas produced a public interest program about Antonio Morelli’s impact on the Las Vegas entertainment industry while he was the musical director and conductor of the Sand’s Hotel and Casino’s Copa Showroom orchestra (1954-1971) and also his impact on the cultural development in the Las Vegas community as the creator and producer of free community “Shirt Sleeve” concerts that he produced for nearly 20 years. The program included a panel discussion with Morelli’s former orchestra members and historical musical selections played by the Las Vegas Academy High School’s award winning “World Jazz Band” that featured Morelli’s musicians as soloists. The entire program was videotaped by UNLV TV and was subsequently broadcasted several times on Las Vegas PBS TV.
VISUAL INTERPRETIVE EXHIBITS AT THE MORELLI HOUSE
Historic Photos from the Morelli Family Collection
A former neighbor of Helen Morelli’s presented the Morelli’s photo and memorabilia collection to the Junior League that Helen had entrusted to her before moving back to her native home in New York with the thought that someone someday might have use for the collection. In order to preserve the collection for posterity, the Junior League donated the collection to UNLV Special Collection in 2009. Reproductions of some of the original photos are displayed throughout the Morelli House to enhance the interpretive tour experience.
Reproduction of Desert Inn Country Club Estates Plot Plan
The Junior League was fortunate to find the original pictorial plot plan of the Desert Inn Country Club Estates that was used to sell home lots to the first residents of the upscale custom home development. The plot plan loaned by Richard Hooker and reproduced by Rex Windom is now on display at the Morelli House. The plot plan provides a visual picture of the original location of the house in the DI Country Club Estates and provides a point of reference to current streets and the Wynn Resort where the house was originally built.
Power Point Slide Show of the Moving of the Morelli House ,
Fred Couzens documented the moving of the Morelli House on September 30, 2001 on its journey through the streets of Las Vegas from the Desert Inn Country Club Estates to its new location at the corner of 9th Streets and E. Bridger in the Downtown Historic District. The Morelli House was able to be moved in one piece because of its post and beam construction at the base of the house. The power point slide show that documents the moving of the Morelli House through the streets of Las Vegas is presented as a visual interpretive exhibit at the House.
Exterior Bronze Plaques/State Marker #270
There are two exterior bronze plaques at the Morelli House to the right and left of the entrance.
To the right there is a bronze plaque identifying the Morelli House and its listings on the State and City’s historic registries is affixed to the exterior of the House. The funding for the plaque was provided by the City of Las Vegas Legacy Centennial Grant program. It is also a State Historic Marker, #270, that is part of the State Historic Preservation Commission’s Nevada State Marker program.
To the left, there is a bronze plaque identifying the Morelli House Listing on the National Historic Registry.
Vintage Clothing Collection/ Morelli Models
As part of its interpretation of the Morelli’s lifestyle in mid century Las Vegas from 1955-1975, the Junior League actively collects women’s vintage clothing to show examples of clothing that might have been worn by Helen Morelli and her friends. Members of the Junior League, the “Morelli Models”, model the clothes during open house events and programs adding flair to the educational mid century experience at the Morelli House.