LAS VEGAS - April 25, 2019 – Las Vegas resident James Holzhauer (famed Jeopardy game show mega-winner) is giving back to his hometown community-and to his favorite Museum.

James and Melissa Holzhauer, members of the Museum and frequent visitors with their daughter, surprised the Museum with a $10,000 donation this week.

“We think the museum is an amazing resource for the Las Vegas community and we can't wait to see how our donation helps it move forward,” said James Holzhauer, Las Vegas resident and record-winning contestant on the game show, Jeopardy.

“We enjoy bringing our child to the museum and seeing her face light up when she sees the animal exhibits (oh those chicks last week!). I also appreciate that every time we visit, there is something new to do or see. It is not a very big place but it has a lot of charm,” said Melissa Holzhauer.

“It was an honor to meet the Holzhauers, and to hear how much they enjoy our Museum and how many times they have returned to experience our programs again and again,” said Marilyn Gillespie, executive director of the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. “We are thankful for our Las Vegas residents that support our Museum and who actively participate in the growth of our programs with so much support. It’s because of amazing residents like the Holzhauers that we can manage our existing programs and add new and exciting elements year-round,” she said.

The Holzhauers directed their donation to support the Live Animal Department and the “Open Door Program” for at-risk students, allowing these students a chance to visit the Museum at no cost.


The Las Vegas Natural History Museum opened in 1991 and is a private, non–profit institution dedicated to educating children, adults, and families in the natural sciences, both past and present. Through its interactive exhibits, educational programs, and the preservation of its collections, the Museum strives to instill an understanding and appreciation of the world’s wildlife, ecosystems, and cultures. A Smithsonian Affiliate since 2002 and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 2013, the Museum was also declared a federal repository in 2015 allowing all archeological and paleontological finds in southern Nevada to be housed at the Museum. Please visit or call (702) 384–(DINO) 3466 for additional information.


After several decades of precedent of Nevada fossils going to California, the BLM has decided to send the Las Vegas Wash collection, long held at the SBCM back home to Las Vegas, to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. In 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) declared the Las Vegas Natural History Museum a federal repository for archeological and paleontological materials removed from BLM lands in Southern Nevada. In short, all of the archaeological and paleontological finds of Nevada that once were shipped to California and other state museums, are finally coming home.


Located on the lower level of the LVNHM, the 1,200 square-foot Richard Ditton Learning Lab was recently converted into a hands-on working laboratory at the Museum. UNLV students that are studying paleontology, work inside the laboratory that is viewable by the public. Visitors and children are able watch the cleaning and conservation of Nevada’s ancient finds from Nevada and touch some of the fossils that date back more than 500 million years.

LVNHM will house these excavated materials to be used for research and learning purposes as well as to be included in exhibits. The Museum is a state and federal collections repository for paleontological and archaeological materials collected on both public lands and from the private sector. The Museum’s repository is home to hundreds of thousands of artifacts and fossils from southern Nevada. Materials from Eureka and Clark counties, as well as Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, and Spring Mountain Ranch state parks are being processed and examined at the lab, including various fossils and paleontological finds. These important materials are preserved, stored, researched and often exhibited at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and used for lesson plans for local teachers, and various displays.