Get Your Kicks: Mondo Route 66 Exhibit

The Autry celebrates The Mother Road through artifacts, stories, and photos.

The words "road" and "romantic" start with that same, wonderful, full-mouthed "ro-" sound, but few roads we take on a daily basis, on our commutes and daily errands, would merit the addition of "romantic" on the front.

There is one road that's the exception, and the positive label is often applied. It's Route 66, or The Mother Road, if you prefer, the Chicago-to-LA -- or LA-to-Chicago -- thoroughfare that inspired a song we all know, works like "On the Road," and a whole adventuresome, let's-roll culture of motels, diners, cacti, AM Radio, small towns, neon, and starry nights.

A new exhibit that's rounded up all things Mother Road opened at The Autry National Center for the American West on Sunday, June 8, and it is set to stretch, long and ribbon-like, through the end of the year.

Meaning this: Route 66 buffs, and they are plentiful and dedicated, can pull their convertible up to the Griffith Park museum for a lookie-loo at a bevy of artifacts and photos.

It isn't all cute souvenirs. How the World War II impacted the road, and The Depression, will be considered. And its larger impact on society as a whole.

Though the souvenirs and artifacts will definitely be on display. Are there 120 different versions of "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" that you can listen to and consider? Why yes, there are. Is Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" in the exhibit, the original scroll, that is, that he typed the road-lovin' book upon? It's there. And will you see an original Phillips 66 gas pump? You will.

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In short, will there be lots of photos of blacktop and big sky and all of those vroom-vroom elements that go into the Route 66 myth-making stew? For sure, and a delicious stew it is.

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