Exploring the Fascinating History and Culture of Route 66 at the Mother Road Museum

Welcome to the world-renowned Route 66, also known as the “Mother Road,” which is considered the most famous highway in the world with a rich history and an adventurous culture. This iconic roadway has inspired countless songs, movies, and literature, encapsulating the American spirit of freedom, exploration, and the open road. If you’re interested in exploring the fascinating and vibrant history of this unique backroad, the Mother Road Museum is the perfect place for you. The museum is filled with exhibits and collections that showcase the history and culture of Route 66 and its impact on shaping America. Let’s dive into the enchanting world of Route 66 and discover what makes the Mother Road Museum a must-visit destination for all history enthusiasts.

The Fascinating Story of the Route 66 Mother Road Museum

If you are a fan of Americana and want to learn more about the quintessential US highway, the Route 66 Mother Road Museum is a must-visit destination. Located in historic Barstow, California, the museum is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Route 66, the iconic highway that represents the American Dream, freedom, and adventure. Here’s everything you need to know about this fascinating museum.

What is the Route 66 Mother Road Museum?

The Route 66 Mother Road Museum is a non-profit educational organization that was founded in 2000 by a group of volunteers who wanted to celebrate the heritage and legacy of Route 66. The museum is housed in the historic Harvey House, a former railroad depot and restaurant built in 1911 that is now part of the Barstow Station, a popular shopping and dining destination.

The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and exhibit artifacts, memorabilia, and stories related to Route 66 and its impact on American society, economy, and culture. The museum is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who are passionate about Route 66’s history and its enduring popularity among road trippers and nostalgia seekers.

The museum’s name, “Mother Road,” comes from John Steinbeck’s classic novel The Grapes of Wrath, which refers to Route 66 as the road that takes people from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the promised land of California during the Great Depression.

Exhibits at the Museum

The Route 66 Mother Road Museum boasts an impressive collection of artifacts, displays, and interactive exhibits that illustrate the history and significance of Route 66. Visitors can explore various rooms and galleries that showcase the different eras and aspects of Route 66 culture and iconography.

Some of the highlights of the museum’s exhibits include vintage cars, motorcycles, and trucks that were popular in the 1940s and 1950s, classic Route 66 road signs, antique gas pumps, historic photographs and postcards, and Route 66-themed souvenirs and merchandise.

One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is the Harvey Girls exhibit, which celebrates the role of the Harvey House restaurant chain in popularizing the “waitress with a red feather” as an American icon. The exhibit features a recreated Harvey House dining room, complete with period costumes, menus, and silverware.

Events and Activities at the Museum

The Route 66 Mother Road Museum is more than just a place to see artifacts and exhibits. The museum hosts a variety of events and activities throughout the year that cater to different interests and age groups.

Some of the museum’s regular events include guided tours of Barstow’s Route 66 landmarks, such as the Casa del Desierto, the Harvey House Railroad Depot, and the Route 66 “Mother Road” mural. You can also attend lectures and presentations by Route 66 experts and historians who share their knowledge and insights about the culture, history, and legacy of Route 66.

The museum also hosts several festivals and celebrations that showcase the fun and festive spirit of Route 66. In September, the museum holds the Route 66 Rendezvous car show, which attracts over 500 classic cars, hot rods, and custom vehicles from around the world. Visitors can admire the vehicles, listen to live music, and enjoy food and drinks from local vendors.

In conclusion, if you want to experience the magic and nostalgia of Route 66, the Route 66 Mother Road Museum is the perfect destination. With its impressive collection of exhibits, knowledgeable volunteers, and fun events, the museum is a celebration of American history and culture that will leave you inspired and entertained.

Practical Information for Visitors

Location and Hours of Operation

The Route 66 Mother Road Museum is located in the historic district of Barstow, California, at 681 N. First Ave. The museum is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for major holidays. Visitors can find parking nearby, and public transportation is available for those who prefer not to drive.

The museum showcases the history and culture of Route 66, which was one of the first highways in the United States. The museum exhibits tell the story of the road’s founding, its significance to the country, and its decline and eventual replacement by the interstate highway system.

Admission Fees

The admission fees for the museum are reasonable, offering a range of discounts for different visitors. Adult admission is $8, and senior admission is $6. Children under 18 can enter the museum for free when accompanied by an adult. Military personnel and Route 66 Association members enjoy a discounted admission of $5 per person.

The museum gift shop offers a range of Route 66-themed merchandise, such as T-shirts, books, and souvenirs. Proceeds from the gift shop sales go toward maintaining and preserving the museum for future generations.

Plan Your Visit

When planning a visit to the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, it’s best to give yourself at least an hour or two to explore the exhibits. The museum offers a self-guided tour, which allows visitors to take their time and enjoy the displays at their own pace.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a camera to capture the memories of their visit, and to wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved in the exhibits. If you’re visiting during the summer, it’s recommended that you bring a hat and sunscreen, as temperatures in the Mojave Desert can be quite hot.

Lastly, it’s important to note that the museum is volunteer-run, and relies on donations to continue operating. Visitors are encouraged to make a donation to show their support for the museum and its mission of preserving the history of Route 66.

In Conclusion

The Route 66 Mother Road Museum provides a unique and educational experience for visitors of all ages. With its engaging exhibits, knowledgeable volunteers, and reasonable admission fees, it’s a must-visit destination for anyone traveling along the historic Route 66.

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