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[Excerpt] Las Vegas has been called the “city of reinvention” (Douglass and Raento 2003). Part of its more recent reinvention efforts has included the opening of five fine-art venues. However, one of the art museums––the Las Vegas Guggenheim––was shut down in its first year due to low attendance; another, the Bellagio Fine Art Gallery, has seen attendance dwindle (Schemeligian 2004). The question addressed here is whether the museums are bringing the intended intangible benefits to the host resort, or whether the sales and attendance figures represent overall disinterest. More broadly one considers the potential “fit” between sin-city and the high-art cultural world.

The difficulty in addressing these issues is that tourists might not consciously recognize the value they feel about having a worldclass art museum onsite. Within nonprofit research there has been a call for ‘‘deeper understanding’’ of tourists (Thyne 2001) as reflected within the greater interest in new qualitative methodologies (Riley and Love 2000). The Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique, a patented research method, was chosen to investigate this research issue. Many of the world’s largest companies (such as Procter & Gamble) have utilized this method for insight on brand meaning and competitive positioning.


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© Elsevier. Final version published as: Braun-LaTour, K. A., Hendler, F., & Hendler, R. (2006). Digging deeper: Art museums in Las Vegas? Annals of Tourism Research, 33(1), 265-268. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.