Oasis Bordello Museum in Wallace, Idaho is the opposite of what I anticipated. Positioned on yet another brick lined block of shops, one might expect something playing up old west iconography.  Yet, while it traces its origins to early mining clientele, it continued operation into the late 1980s. Instead of corsets and feather boas, the closets are filled with polyester bathing suites and sequin dresses.

What makes the museum particularly impressive is that, with the closing of the bordello, everything remained untouched until it was reopened as a museum. The dresses and frilly panties are not sourced from a secondhand store, they were abandoned by the girls when the Oasis closed.  What is left is a story of entrepreneurship, social hypocrisy, and real people.

The ladies may not have been allowed to be so overt, but today’s Bordello Museum is out and proud of the history it represents.

While the main floor of the museum is now used as a gift shop, it was never a primary part of the bordello. Clients would enter through the side stars to the bordello above.
Operating an explicitly illegal service industry meant that security was an important

The madame was well known for her feather wigs, many of which remain at the museum.
Our enterprising madame was no luddite. She enjoyed her Atari set in her free time.
This one took me aback. I was struck by how many rugs were in the closet, but that’s because they had a particular purpose.
This Pegasus statue was not only a piece of flare for the resident lady, it was also where she hid her earnings. Decades after she left the Bordello, she visited the museum and discovered earnings that had been abandoned when the Bordello had been closed.

Timers were an important part of the business. Clients were paying by the minute, so timers were set to track how much time was left in any one session. Many were used to the breaking point. Some remained.
The massive neon sign for the Oasis now languishes in the basement. After a while, it was regarded as inappropriate for the bordello to promote itself at street level and the sign was removed.

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.

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