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.
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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)