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A route most traveled is celebrated in Autry exhibit

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Quickly, our country was a changin’. What with the advances in industry and technology, American society at the turn of the 19th century could not but reflect the ingenious innovations that were fast becoming a way of life.

Along with modernization came opportunities for mankind to connect. Much like the virtual ties that unite us today through the Internet, allowing us to reach out to people across all boundaries, in 1880, it was a concrete connection that was born with the Good Roads Movement.

The expansion and improvement of our infrastructure would soon lead to the establishment of one of our nation’s most renowned and cherished thoroughfares...Route 66.

To this day, a trip along the historical highway, which originally sprawled 2,400 miles between Chicago and Los Angeles, can only generate welcome adventures that are certain to create a mound of memories.

In tribute to this vast paved expanse, the Autry presents “Route 66: The Road and the Romance,” an exhibit that opened last month and continues through January 4, 2015. With more than 250 artifacts from a variety of institutions and private collections, the museum gives patrons the opportunity to journey through time along this unique “Main Street of America.”

Some of the highlights of the show are:

  • The oldest existing Route 66 shield
  • A Jackson Pollock landscape painting from his early years
  • John Steinbeck’s handwritten page from The Grapes of Wrath manuscript that introduces the “Mother Road”
  • Woody Guthrie’s guitar
  • A classic 1960 Corvette

The exhibit, divided into four main sections, traces the genesis of Route 66, its early years during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl era, its subsequent heyday that began in the 1950s, and finally, its eventual decline.

Yet, beyond the shadows of the past lurk those ardent preservationists, eager to keep Route 66’s great tradition alive…and so the story continues.

THIS WEEKEND, JULY 5 AND 6, THE AUTRY IS AMONG THE MUSEUMS THAT OFFER FREE ADMISSION THROUGH BANK OF AMERICA’S “MUSEUMS ON US” PROGRAM.

The Autry is located in Griffith Park at 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles 90027 (across from the Los Angeles Zoo) Click here for hours of operation and admission prices.

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