Route 66 Auto History is Alive and Well!
Once the main path from the Midwest to the West Coast, the historic Route 66 is a bucket list road trip for many RVers. Ended in 1985 due to the additions to convenient interstates, the iconic route still provides many miles of scenic views. The 2,448 miles of pavement provide a slower pace to explore our nation.
Top Route 66 Museums
A great way to be introduced to the historical past of this stretch of blacktop is to visit the large selection of museums from Oklahoma to California. Here is a look at some of the Route 66 museums available throughout the Main Street of America.
Arizona Route 66 Museum
Located in Kingman, the Arizona Route 66 Museum shows the progress made in travel. Settlers who migrated west over the first wagon roads and the dust bowl refugees who dealt with despair and hardship while traveling down the Mother Road are featured throughout the museum. Bright murals, pictures, and life-size dioramas feature each of the groups.
Even the building has historical relevance to the highway, as it is situated within a historical building that once lit the way for Route 66 travelers. Built in two phases, the building came to be in 1907 and 1991 and was operated by the Desert Power & Light Company. It gave power to the early sections of Kingman along with the early mines around the middle of 1909. Restored 60 years later, the building was transformed into a visitor center in 1997 and remains open today.
The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9:00am until 3:30. Tickets are $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors. Kids 12 and under are free with adult ticket.
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
Clinton, Oklahoma is home to the largest museum pertaining to the memory and culture of Route 66. Travelers here can gain knowledge of the road’s history, spanning from Chicago to Santa Monica. There are changing special exhibits that focus on the Route 66 experience in the Now and Future Gallery.
Don’t forget to take home a souvenir from the gift shop. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, students 6-18 are $4, while kids 5 and under are free.
Route 66 Interpretive Center
Complementing other Oklahoma museums while providing a bit more, the Route 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler offers education, history, and video. Make sure to sit in on a viewing of the “Mother Road” video experience, get your kicks in the Route 66 gift shop, and see how the museum vows to keep Route 66 alive.
J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum
Located between the original Route 66 and the current Route 66, in downtown Claremore, travelers will find the The J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum. While this museum doesn’t hold memories of the Mother Road, it is a unique opportunity to see some Oklahoma history.
This museum houses the largest privately-held firearms in the world. There are over 12,000 firearms and thousands of non-firearm artifacts that range from Old West saddles and spurs, World War I posters, and local Claremore history.
Additionally, there is a tribute to a local resident. Tulsa businessman, Cyrus S. Avery, is known as the Father of Route 66. In the early 1920s, he pushed for the creation of the mega stretch of road. Avery’s other claims to fame include builder of the Avery Coliseum Convention Center in downtown Tulsa and being the co-founder of KAKC Radio.
There is a mural paying tribute to the Tulsa giant within the museum. Descendants of Avery currently live in the Washington D.C. area, but they made a visit to the museum back in 2011. Viewing the Route 66 mural of their grandfather in the museum were Allyson Anne Avery (great-grand-daughter), Cyrus S. Avery II (grandson), and Cyrus S. Avery III (great-grandson).
California Route 66 Museum
Located on the Historic Route 66 in Victorville, the California Route 66 Museum offers ever-changing displays that highlight the early pioneer trails and railroads, while following the development of the highway through the years.
Formerly the Red Rooster Café, the 5,000-square-foot museum features three rooms full of displays along with a gift shop. Doors opened in November 1995 and the building itself offers a bit of historical trivia. While still operating as the Red Rooster Café, it was the chosen location for the Neil Diamond film, The Jazz Singer.
Start trip planning today
While traveling down the famous highway, be sure to stop and visit the many Route 66 museums to get an intricate look at the history of the Mother Road. Be sure to check out this article to see where to dine during your drive.
For help mapping out your route for your next RV getaway, look no further than RV LIFE Trip Wizard. This online planning tool makes it easy to plan an RV-safe route. It can also locate interesting sites along the way, all according to your travel preferences. Get RV LIFE Trip Wizard with its accompanying RV LIFE App, and start planning your adventure today.