The Illinois State Museum announced today it is collecting memorabilia focused on expanding its Route 66 collection.
The museum is expanding the collection ahead of an exhibit they will display in 2026 celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Mother Road.
The museum is seeking items that will help illuminate Route 66’s history, both during its glory days prior to the Interstate system and objects that continue to add to the road’s rich story today.
At the center of the exhibit will be pieces of art and personal belongings of itinerant artist and peace activist nomad Bob Waldmire. Throughout the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, Waldmire traveled from town to town along Route 66, creating and selling art and postcards. Then, in 1985, he bought a 1972 Volkswagen camper van that he lived out of in Arizona; this van was later the inspiration for the character Fillmore in the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars.”
Those interested in contributing to the ISM Route 66 collecting initiative can learn more about the items the Museum is looking to add its collection at illinoisstatemuseum.org or email Curator of History Erika Holst at Erika.Holst@illinois.gov.