“preserving the history and culture of Route 66”
The Berwyn Route 66 Museum is a small not-for-profit facility, located in Berwyn, Illinois, that documents the history of the former U.S. Route 66.ContextThe path of Route 66 traveled through the city of Berwyn along Ogden Avenue, a main thoroughfare through Chicago and its western suburbs; the section of the route that passed through Berwyn was known as Automobile Row during the route’s heyday. In Illinois, the original path of the former Route 66 has been federally designated a National Scenic Byway known as the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, so that Ogden Avenue is once again part of Historic Route 66.The museum opened in January 2011 in a storefront at 7003 W. Ogden Ave. and shares space with the Berwyn Arts Council, a local community arts organization that has a small gallery within the museum. The museum's mission is to discover, present and preserve the history and culture of Route 66, in particular the section that passed through Berwyn. The museum’s executive director is Jon Fey, who is also a board member of the arts council. Information, artifacts and memorabilia about Route 66 and Automobile Row are stored and displayed at the museum, which also makes its data available to researchers by appointment. The museum is staffed entirely by volunteers; its docent is Myles Slaughter, and Tony Lavorato is in charge of collections research.HistoryThe museum’s beginnings were two display cases of memorabilia set up in 1994 in the former Skylite Restaurant on Ogden Avenue near Ridgeland Avenue by Larry Ohler of the volunteer group known as Berwyn Preservation of Historic Route 66, a committee of the Berwyn Development Corp. Ohler had collected the material. The displays were later moved to Anderson Ford, a dealership formerly located on Ogden Avenue (the dealership closed in 2009, and the building was repurposed during the spring of 2012). Fey’s company SWF Products, which owns the building in which the museum is housed, offered the space so that the collection could have a home of its own.
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Berwyn Route 66 Museum
- Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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