A group in Tucumcari, N.M., announced today it is committed to establishing a Route 66 museum in town, according to a news release emailed by Richard Talley, owner of Motel Safari in Tucumcari.
According to the release:
The group is already in the process of forming its foundation, has a new website www.nmrt66museum.org, is currently finalizing site selection, has started a preliminary process for a curator and gathering the museum’s first collections for exhibit. […]
[W]e felt it only made sense to finally get New Mexico’s first Route 66 Museum up and running as well. It will not only benefit Tucumcari, but all of New Mexico and Route 66, as we will strive to display offerings and tell the story from all across our great state “The Land of Enchantment.” From Glenrio to Gallup, and everywhere on Route 66 in between, the goal will be to share our state’s vast Route 66 heritage from every possible angle, beginning with its start from the Ozark Trails system to the modern Historic Route 66 of today.
The group has narrowed the site selection down to 3 properties, from multiple buildings and sites all around town. All 3 of these locations are readily available to begin the project, each represents a unique opportunity from a move-in-ready facility to re-use of a historical site and even new build construction, and all 3 are directly on Historic Route 66. Once site selection is complete, the group is ready to move forward towards opening as quickly as possible.
Talley wouldn’t elaborate about the group’s makeup, proposed sites, or a time frame for establishing the museum, other than saying that more information will be shared “soon.”
The announcement will undoubtedly heat up the rivalry between Tucumcari and nearby Santa Rosa to land a Route 66 museum. Just a few weeks ago, Santa Rosa landed a $325,000 state grant to plan and rehabilitate the historic Ilfeld Warehouse near downtown. One of the expressed purposes for the warehouse is a Route 66 museum. The city also applied for a Scenic Byways grant to also rehab the warehouse.
Tucumcari and Santa Rosa also are lobbying Route 66 enthusiast Johnnie Meier and his Classical Gas Museum gas-station memorabilia to be a part of the museum. Meier’s museum is now based in Embudo, N.M.