The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum is operated by The Oklahoma Historical Society, a state agency. The museum was originally opened to the public in 1968 as the Museum of the Western Trails, operated by the Oklahoma Industrial Trust and Recreation Department (which later became the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation).
In 1991 the museum was transferred to OHS. In 1993 plans began for a redevelopment of the museum in order to focus on transportation and Route 66. The project was funded with federal, state and private funds, with the citizens of Clinton (population approximately 10,000) raising over $200,000.00.
The museum officially opened on September 23, 1995, as the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum with a grand opening celebration in Clinton including car shows, free live entertainment, a rock’n roll dance and many other activities.
Exhibits begin with “The World’s Largest Curio Cabinet,” home of special treasures collected from along the route. An audio tour written and narrated by Michael Wallis, author of Route 66: The Mother Road, will guide visitors through six decades of Route 66 history.
Along the way visitors see vehicles and listen to music while they experience the history and culture of each decade concerning road construction, transportation, lodging, restaurants, garages, curio shops, attractions, and other artifacts, graphics, and videos. At the end of their trip down the “Main Street of America,” visitors catch their breath in the drive-in theater, before stopping in the “Curio” gift shop with its wide selection of signs, books, videos, clothing, toys, games and numerous other mementos, of Route 66 and the Museum.