A new exhibit celebrating Route 66 is now open in Springfield.

“Checking In” takes a look at the iconic hotels and motels of Greene County along the so-called Mother Road that shaped the region.

Sean FitzGibbons with Springfield’s History Museum on the Square has spent the past two years featuring restaurants and service stations, and now lodging takes the center stage as the museum looks at what a classic Americana road trip looked like.

“This is right when the highways were getting started,” he detailed. “There wasn’t the, you know, the access roads and the big mega mart gas stations and all of that. It was these family-owned small businesses that were supported by and supported Route 66. We got really got excited about telling those family stories.”

Springfield is known as the “Birthplace of Route 66.”

“This is our opportunity to preserve and tell the stories of many, I don’t want to say forgotten, but family stories and lived histories of Route 66 and how I-44 or Route 66, how that changed and how that altered these lived histories,” he said.

Charming cabins, iconic motels, and landmark hotels will be featured in the newest Route 66 exhibit that runs through September 8.

“When people have that nostalgic desire to see the “real America” it is that road trip along Route 66,” he explained. “A lot of people do think it is mostly desert road trip, but it is through the Midwest, through the desert, through southern California.”

The five-year series will culminate in the road’s 100th birthday in 2026.

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