A local radio station recently received a sneak preview of renovations at the History Museum on the Square in downtown Springfield, Missouri, that will give visitors a more interactive and immersive experience later this summer, including of Route 66.
KSMU radio reported on the elaborate $12 million project that was paid for with grants, donations and fundraisers:
Walking into the museum, a Frisco Locomotive immediately stands out. The engine car protrudes from the wall on the second story. And the passenger car is fitted with interactive games.
But the Frisco Locomotive isn’t the only new interactive exhibit here – the place is packed with hands-on, sound-rich elements designed to whisk you back in time. […]
42 different videos telling different stories of Springfield and Greene County will be part of the “Trolley Time Machine.”
Inside the trolley, there’s a wheel that turns to the left or the right, transporting viewers through time.
Upstairs, visitors can pick up a replica gun with a laser and test out their shot. It’s from the perspective of Wild Bill Hickok, who had a shootout on the town square. Visitors will take aim at Hickok’s rival, Davis Tutt, who will fade into a target. […]
The renovated museum will also include a tribute to the Native Americans who were forced to migrate from their settlements, the pioneers, and an entire wing dedicated to Route 66.
Birds-eye artist’s renderings of the forthcoming exhibits may be seen at the museum’s website.
A longtime Springfield newspaper columnist proclaimed in March the new exhibits at the museum would be “spectacular” but didn’t reveal too much. These details, however, about the Route 66 portion emerged:
The expansion includes a 66-foot-long wall. On one side will be a map of the legendary Chicago to Los Angeles route; on the other is a timeline of the byway. […]
In addition, you’ll find neon signs for Rail Haven Inn, Red’s Giant Hamburg and Sunset Drive-in, which was on Springfield’s west side.
Not only that, the museum has an original Red’s menu — as well as a menu from the historic Graham’s Rib Station, owned and operated by a black family.
Admission for the revamped museum will be $20 for adults and a lower amount for children. Some people groused about the admission fee when it first was announced earlier this spring, but it appears visitors will get quite an experience for their money.
(Excerpted image of History Museum on the Square in Springfield, Missouri, from Google Street View)