Dr. Hart Wegner was born in the German province of Silesia, which is now part of Poland. At the end of World War II, when Wegner was 13, he and his parents fled the region and later immigrated to the United States. After serving a few years in the U.S. Army, Wegner earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Utah and his Ph.D. from Harvard. He returned to Utah as an assistant professor, then joined UNLV in 1968. He taught in the English and foreign language departments, but is mainly associated with the film department, which he founded. Wegner, the first foreign-born person to be inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, retired from UNLV in 2015 and is a professor emeritus.
Founded by Wegner and his wife Winnie, The Learn Haus is a gathering place for people interested in TV, film and literature. It’s part library, part museum, and, in many ways, a reflection of Wegner’s varied and well-lived life. (At 15, he worked in a coal mine in Germany and he won a Pushcart Prize, an American literary award, in the mid-’80s, to name two examples. He also worked in TV and movies.) The Wegners seem particularly proud of The Haus’ film library and Chuck Jones gallery (featuring work Jones did while producing and directing Tom and Jerry), but it also includes a Silesian collection, a Western collection, two libraries, a work studio and a bamboo-shaded courtyard.
The house, mid-century modern with a gull wing roof, was built in 1957. Wegner was told the original owner had a Rolls Royce and Stradivarius then went bankrupt. The house was empty for years. Wegner bought it in ’68 and lived in it for many years and, at other times, used it as an office. The Wegners started remodeling the home two years ago. It had its grand opening as The Learn Haus in October.
The Wegners wanted to preserve the home and the materials. Currently, they envision The Learn Haus as a place where people can interact with each other and as a venue for seminars, workshops, film clubs and events. Wegner said he would like for it to blossom into a film version of UNLV’s literary center Black Mountain Institute, but, he conceded with a smile, The Haus has a much smaller budget. (The Rogers Foundation has donated millions of dollars to BMI.)
The Learn Haus is located in the historic Beverly Green neighborhood in the shadow of the Stratosphere, fronted by palm and olive trees on Canosa Avenue. Drop-ins are not encouraged. The Haus is available, by appointment, to students, teachers, scholars, researchers and anyone who has an interest in learning.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-768-2415.