66 ARCHIVES AND RESEARCH
history of Route 66 is paved with paper—postcards, photographs,
maps, menus, oral histories and other primary source documentation.
bring more attention to the historical record of Route 66, the
National Park Service (NPS) is collaborating with archival institutions
along the route to develop the Route 66 Archives and
Research Collaborative, or “Route 66 ARC”. The mission
of Route 66 ARC is to stimulate the collection and preservation
of historical records, and increase their accesibility to the
historians want to tell the story of Route 66, they not only drive
the road, they visit local libraries, archives, museums and universities
in search of information. There they might find maps that document
the highway’s alignments, photographs of long-vanished motels
and other businesses, and oral histories revealing what it was
like to travel or make a living along the road.
historian Arthur Krim researched his book, Route 66: Iconography
of the American Highway (2005), he not only consulted books already
written about the highway, but mined the collections of the National
Record Center, the Federal Highway Administration, the Cynthia
Troup Archive and other institutions, for documents and images
to enlarge his story.
importance of archival sources is unquestioned. With each map,
tourist brochure, diary or photograph, we learn more about the
highway—what it looked like,
used it, what it was like to drive it.
information is useful not only to scholars and students, but to
tourists looking to enrich their travel experience; property owners
wanting to learn more about their building or business; local
communities wanting to promote their town history; and government
agencies responsible for managing aspects of the highway.
institutions have partnered with the NPS as key repositories
and have contributed significantly to the development of the initiative.
Current goals are to promote the archives; identify important
Route 66 collections throughout the states; encourage cross-collaboration
between archives, libraries and museums; and develop this website
as a rich resource of archival information to help preserve the
memory and materials of the route.
A more detailed list of the founding Route 66 ARC institutions
is available here.