Two very different Route 66 museums only a few miles apart
How many museums does Oklahoma need to celebrate Route 66?
The answer, it seems, is two. There is the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City in western Oklahoma, with a rustic, old fashioned feel to it, even though some of the exhibits are clearly new.
These include half a pink Cadillac placed in front of a screen showing film taken from the front of a car travelling along old Route 66. The film starts rolling when you hit the gas and it’s as shaky as youd imagine a handheld film shot from a moving vehicle would be.
There is a also a firemans pole you can slide down, though there seems little to connect this with Route 66.
One interesting feature of the museum is an automated voiceover that goes on when you walk underneath hanging upside down bowls curiously reminiscent of the old-fashioned bulbous hair dryers common in ladies hair salons. Listen to that voice here.
Former curator Lucy Stansberry (abovbe), age withheld, said the first section of the museum was opened back in 1966 and that she has been working there for 30 years herself. Listen to Lucy on working in the musuem and the influx of European tourists
The other museum is the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, less than 30 miles east of Elk City. This is a much more modern establishment. Opened in 1995, it contains a range of exhibits that contain plenty of interesting historical data and background that the museum in Elk City lacks. The exhibits include a few vintage cars and an old-fashioned all-American diner (pictured left).
Some will prefer the museum in Clinton because of its clearly superior exhibits but then Elk City’s offered a chance to talk to staff who had been there for many years.