List of Route 66 Museums
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List of Route 66 Museums

A Route 66 museum is a museum devoted primarily to the history of U.S. Route 66, a U.S. Highway which served the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, in the United States from 1926 until it was bypassed by the Interstate highway system and ultimately decommissioned in June 1985.

In many towns and US states on the former highway, the initial efforts to establish museums to preserve the road's history were led by individual state-level Route 66 associations or local groups.

As each museum is an independent entity, their content varies widely; some cover one state or region, while others cover the entire eight-state route, and many extend to related topics varying from the pre-highway transportation history of a state to the Dust Bowl exodus of the Great Depression, the mobilization of soldiers and equipment for World War II or nostalgia for the post-war highway and classic cars of that era.

Berwyn Route 66 Museum

The Berwyn Route 66 Museum, which moved to a retail storefront in Berwyn, Illinois in 2011 from a now-defunct Ford dealership,[1] was home to the Berwyn Arts Council gallery[2] and as of 2012 is attempting to rebuild Berwyn's Spindle sculpture, dismantled in 2008.[3]

California Route 66 Museum

The California Route 66 Museum, established in 1995 at the former Red Rooster Café building in Victorville, is one of two museums in the state devoted to the history of Route 66 (California also has a Mother Road museum in Barstow).[4] This museum focuses on the westernmost portion of the historic highway.[5]

Chandler Route 66 Interpretive Center

One of three Route 66 museums in Oklahoma (others exist in Clinton and Elk City), the Chandler Route 66 Interpretive Center occupies the historic Chandler Armory (1935-1971), originally built by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration.[6]

Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum

Waldmire's VW microbus in Route 66 Hall of Fame, Illinois.

The Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, Illinois was originally established by the Illinois Route 66 association at the Dixie Truckers Home on the former US Route 66 (now Interstate 55 in Illinois), relocated in June 2004 to early-1900s fire hall,[7] and is now located in the former Pontiac City Hall and Fire Station, now known as the Pontiac Museum Complex.

Its collections include the vehicles of late Route 66 travelling artist and cartographer Bob Waldmire, on whom the Cars character "Fillmore" is based.

Litchfield Museum

The former "Vic Suhling Gas for Less" filling station site at 334 Historic Old Route 66 North in Litchfield, Illinois was redeveloped and opened in 2013 as the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center. Local history displays include "The Indian Connection," "Railroad History," "Historic Downtown Businesses," "Agriculture and Farming," and "Illinois Route 66" complete with a mural by late Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire which was relocated from the Dixie Truckers Home.[8]

A 2013 matching grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program will fund restoration of the historic filling station signage.[9]

National Route 66 Museum

The National Route 66 Museum forms part of an Old Town Museum Complex in Elk City, Oklahoma, which includes several museums on various topics. This museum covers the entire eight-state route, incorporating an interactive ride in a 1959 Cadillac.[10]

New Mexico Route 66 Museum

The New Mexico Route 66 Museum is located in Tucumcari, New Mexico behind the local convention center.[11][12][13]

A competing proposal from another group advocated a Route 66 museum be established in the historic Ilfeld Warehouse near downtown Santa Rosa, New Mexico.[14]

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum

Route 66 in Clinton, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma, covers the history of transportation in the state from animal paths and native trails to army and colonization roads, cattle paths, railroad tracks and the earthen roads which were only completely paved a decade or more after Route 66 was certified as a US highway.[15]

Built in 1995 on land donated by the late Walter S. Mason Jr., a country veterinarian turned Best Western hotelier, the museum is operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society, a state agency.

Route 66 Mother Road Museum

One of two museums located in the historic 1911 Casa del Desierto, a former Harvey House Railroad Depot and hotel in Barstow, California, the Barstow Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum opened in 2000.[16] It displays historic vehicles, photographs, artwork and petroliana from Route 66's heyday.[4][17]

Route 66 State Park Visitors Center

The Visitors Center in Missouri's Route 66 State Park is located in the Bridgehead Inn, a roadhouse constructed in 1928. The Center has permanent displays on Route 66, focusing on Missouri. They also sell books on Route 66 as well as souvenirs. The Visitors Center is next to a historic Route 66 bridge over the Meramec River. On the other side of the bridge is the ghost town of Times Beach, Missouri.

See also


  1. ^ Schweinberg, Brett (2011-01-17). "Downers Grove resident looks to open Route 66 Museum". Romeoville Reporter. Retrieved . [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Schweinberg, Brett (2011-11-23). "'Eclectic' auto museum adds art gallery". Stickney Suburban Life. Retrieved . [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Schweinberg, Brett (2012-09-06). "The Spindle returns? Group aims to bring back a Berwyn icon". Berwyn Life. Archived from the original on 2012-10-10. Retrieved . 
  4. ^ a b Jim Hinckley (2011-06-06). Ghost Towns of Route 66. p. 154. ISBN 9780760338438. Retrieved . 
  5. ^ The Rough Guide to California. Rough Guides. 2011-05-02. p. 256. ISBN 9781405383028. Retrieved . 
  6. ^ "Chandler Armory-Route 66: A Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary". Retrieved . 
  7. ^ "Old firehouse to house Route 66 museum". The Telegraph-Herald. May 2, 2004. p. 20A. 
  8. ^ Tamara Browning (2013-06-02). "Litchfield Museum, Route 66 Welcome Center open - News - The State Journal-Register - Springfield, IL". Retrieved . 
  9. ^ "Cost-share grants announced from Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program » Route 66 News Route 66 News". 2013-08-09. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ Jakle, John A; Sculle, Keith A (2011-09-30). "Remembering Roadside America: Preserving the Recent Past as Landscape and Place". ISBN 9781572338333. 
  11. ^ "Official site". New Mexico Route 66 Museum. Retrieved 2015. 
  12. ^ Garcia, Thomas (2012-08-28). "Commissioners approve Route 66 museum". Quay County Sun. Archived from the original on 2013-02-01. Retrieved . 
  13. ^ Garcia, Thomas. "Tucumcari OKs Route 66 Museum". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved . 
  14. ^ "Tourist and Interpretive Information in the Ilfeld Warehouse Santa Rosa, NM". National Scenic Byways Program. Retrieved . 
  15. ^ Heller, Claudia; Heller, Alan (2012-05-22). "Life on Route 66: Personal Accounts Along the Mother Road to California". ISBN 9781609496227. 
  16. ^ "Get hip to this timely tip: Route 66 museum revs up". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. July 3, 2000. p. 5A. 
  17. ^ Ryan Ver Berkmoes (2009-03-01). California Trips: 68 Themed Itineraries, 1147 Local Places to See. p. 313. ISBN 9781741797275. Retrieved . 

External links

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