Joliet lukewarm to Route 66 The Road to Rock museum idea

A pitchman wants a Route 66 The Road to Rock museum in downtown Joliet, Illinois, but a few city officials seemed tepid to the idea — especially the Joliet Area Historical Museum.

Ron Romero proposed his idea — which aims to pay homage to the musical heroes of Illinois — to the Joliet City Council this week. One city councilwoman observed the Joliet museum director seemed against it.

More from The Herald News:

He did acknowledge that he and museum Director Greg Peerbolte parted ways over a rock-and-roll exhibit at the Joliet Area Historical Museum when they could not agree on how it should be done.

“I thought there was a lot of resistance from Greg. He just didn’t want to do it,” Romero said.

But part of that was that the exhibit required more space than the museum had available, Romero said. He is looking for 6,500- to 10,000-square-feet in downtown Joliet, which could take two floors or an entire building.

Romero denied he would work against the Joliet history museum. He said his museum and the other cater to different interests. He also said the Joliet museum and his museum should be able to direct visitors to each other.

A reader who flagged this story observed that Pontiac, Illinois, boasts at least four museums — including the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum — that don’t detract from each other.

Romero declined to say whether he would ask for city money to help get his museum off the ground. At least one city councilor seemed reluctant to give funds to the project, although the mayor gave his blessing for Romero to keep working on the museum, money or no.

A quick perusal of the museum’s website showed photos of Illinois-linked acts such as Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Buddy Guy, Smashing Pumpkins, Kanye West, King’s X, the Blues Brothers and Tom Morello,

Romero said Route 66 The Road to Rock Museum will hold its first fundraiser Oct. 19 at The Forge nightclub during the Route 66 Miles of Possibilities conference in Joliet.

At least such a museum would be unique to the Mother Road. The only one comparable that comes to mind is the upcoming OKPop Museum in Tulsa, which will pay tribute to Oklahoma-based music artists.

(Image of Route 66 The Road to Rock logo via Facebook)

3 thoughts on “Joliet lukewarm to Route 66 The Road to Rock museum idea

    1. Hi Jerry, we agree…even this Wiki link scratches the surface…so many great musicians and bands to pay tribute to and preserve the music and artifacts. Thank you for your comments.

  1. Thought it might be appropriate to share a few thoughts on this article. I might suggest watching the Pre-city council meeting from the city of Joliet which I will include the link for at the bottom of this post. First and foremost I would like to say that myself and our board of directors appreciates the city’s time and help. When you watch the meeting you will see that I presented a plan that explains our intention to work with all other attractions in Joliet, including the Joliet Area Museum. I had indeed approached the Joliet Area Museum in May of 2016 with the idea. The staff there were for it and we put together a committee made up of the staff at the Museum and a committee that I had assembled. We met on a few occasions trying to work out the details. The director came to our last meeting there and explained that he had decided that it should only include musicians from the Joliet area and had re-written the plan we presented literally only hours before our final meeting. In the end I was told that the board of directors decided against having it there. I later found out that the project had not even been presented to the board.

    So flash forward to the meeting at the City Council…two people made comments. one was from the mayor who said there was no anger from the council and that he would like to see it happen. . And the other one was from the alderwoman who made the claims we were working against the other museum and that she would not give any of “her” money (city money) to the Rock and Roll Museum. That councilwoman is the government liaison to the Joliet Area Museum who the city supports. I must say that we came to that meeting to present our museum project and to offer transparency and a commitment to working with the City, developers, chamber, businesses, the Joliet Area Historical Museum and anyone that we could work with to help create the synergy that everyone is working on to revive and make the Downtown thrive again. You can hear that said several times during my presentation before the councilwoman speaks up.

    We did not show up at that meeting to ask for money…our business plan does not include asking for city money. When asked if we would ever ask for city money, I simply said “I wont say yes or no” because we don’t know what the future may hold. This could be a hugely successful project that could be apart of bringing much tourism to the City. Maybe the city would see some benefit at a later time to build on the museum…that we can not predict.

    In the end…what it comes down to, that one alderwoman was protective of the Joliet Area Historical Museum to which she has a board position as a governmental liaison. She made the claim that the JAHM board was not in support of the Rock and Roll Museum because she was given that information….not from the board or its president…but from one person. Once again…it wasn’t taken to their board and in fact I have been in contact with the new board president who is a well respected pillar of the community. We discussed working together…cross marketing and helping the downtown Joliet together.

    Our hopes are to increase tourism traffic in Joliet and to be a part of the team that is working diligently to revive that area.

    Here is the link to the video In the council.woman’s defense…she was given some bum info that mislead her intentionally.

    Finally, I will add that I have received and overwhelming positive response to this video and remain in contact with the city and the economic development department to bring what we hope everyone will enjoy to the Downtown Joliet area.

    Ron Romero
    Director – Illinois Rock & Roll Museum on Route 66

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