IL State Museum Searching for Route 66 Stories

By Benjamin Cox on June 12, 2024 at 8:33am

The Illinois State Museum is seeking individuals to share their personal experiences with the original Route 66 in Illinois ahead of its 100th anniversary.

Historians from the Illinois State Museum will record and share oral histories of people who can recall their connections to the historic roadway, which operated from 1926 until decommissioning in 1985.

Specifically, museum historians would like to interview people who have memories of driving on Route 66 or traveling the highway with family or for business, those who were involved or whose families were involved in operating restaurants, hotels, or auto service businesses along the route, anyone who participated in the building, maintenance, or rerouting of the road, first responders who worked on the road, or those who have other firsthand experiences with Route 66.

Anyone who has experienced Route 66 in one or more of these ways and would like to be part of the project can contact Route 66 project coordinator Judy Wagenblast at The oral history project is funded in part by the National Park Service.

Interview participants will be asked to sign a permission form granting legal rights to conduct and preserve the interview. Monetary compensation is not offered. Video recordings of the interviews and transcriptions will be made available to the public in an online database as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of Historic Route 66 in 2026.