Autry Museum of the American West


Route 66: The Road and the Romance



June 8, 2014 - January 4, 2015

Discover the facts and the fiction surrounding the Mother Road through more than 250 extraordinary artifacts that trace the history of the route and its impact on American popular culture.

Connecting Chicago to Los Angeles, the 2,400-mile-long highway was a witness to history and a symbol for America on the move. Route 66: The Road and the Romance travels the iconic road from its inception in 1926 through the drama of the Great Depression to its heyday as a travel destination and the route's eventual displacement by the Interstate Highway System. The exhibition concludes with a contemporary look at the road and the movement for its preservation.

Route 66 presents historical artifacts from institutions and private collections across the United States, many never before displayed together. See the oldest existing Route 66 shield, an early Jackson Pollock landscape painting, a ten-foot twin visible gas pump, the handwritten page from The Grapes of Wrath manuscript that introduces the “Mother Road,” renowned Dust Bowl–era photographs, Woody Guthrie’s guitar, the original typewritten scroll of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, a classic 1960 Corvette, and countless objects adorned with the Route 66 moniker or acquired along the route.






James R. Parks
Susan and Carl W. Robertson
Lora A. and Robert U. Sandroni

Related Programs


Quarterly Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Saturday, June 14, 2014, 1:00 p.m.

Route 66 First Look (Members Only)

Saturday, June 7, 2014, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Morning Joe and the Mother Road

Select weekend mornings, 9:00–11:00 a.m.

Libraries, Archives, and Preserving Cultural History: Historic Route 66

Saturday, June 14, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

Route 66 Seminar: Beginning of the Road

Sunday, June 22, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Saturday, July 12, 2014, 1:30 p.m.

Route 66 Lost & Found

Sunday, July 20, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

Bound for Glory (1976)

Saturday, August 9, 2014, 1:30 p.m.

Neon Cruise of Downtown L.A.

Thursday, August 21, 2014, 6:30 p.m.

Waiting for Jack: A Beat Poetry Experience

Thursday, September 11, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Autry Explorers LEGO® Day at the Autry: Cars Meets Route 66

Sunday, September 14, 2014, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Cars (2006)

Sunday, September 14, 2014, 1:30 p.m.

Annual Gala 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Celebrate Steinbeck! The Road Trip as Inspiration

Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6:00 p.m.

American Road Documentary Screening

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6:00 p.m.

Route 66 Seminar: The End of the Road?

Sunday, November 16, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

Plan Your Own Route 66 Trip

Saturday, December 6, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

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