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Gallery + Classroom Program: Remembering the Road: Nostalgia and Impact of Route 66

Dates Available: All school year

Grade Level: This program is available for 6th–12th grades only.

Minimum Number of Students: 25 students

Maximum Number of Students: 70 students

Gallery Visited:   Route 66

Program Duration: 2 hours

The history of Route 66 isn’t all about sightseeing and classic cars. Students will critically examine the common nostalgia of Route 66 as they discover the challenges travelers faced, as well as the health and environmental impacts of the Mother Road. Using primary sources, students will also experience the challenge of planning a trip the old-fashioned way!

In the Galleries
On the Remembering the Road tour, students visit 3 areas of our galleries representing different aspects of travel along Route 66. At each stop students learn about the legacy and impact of this famed highway. Participatory conversations and activities extend students’ understanding of the exhibits. Here’s a closer look at what the students will see and do (*Please note that the following stops may not occur in chronological order, and portions of each stop may be cut out if your group arrives late):

  • At stop 1 students challenge the commonly told narrative of the Mother Road as they uncover what it was like for African Americans, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, the Jewish community, and women to travel in the 1950s. Students will make connections to marginalized groups today and consider how something as common as travel may not be experienced in the same way by everyone.
  • At stop 2 students will recognize familiar places like White Castle and Ted Drewes and will connect the fast food experience in St. Louis to that of the whole nation. Students will discover connections between highway travel and fast-food consumption over the years.
  • At stop 3 students will learn about travel and the boom of the highway system under the 1956 Federal Highway Act. They will consider the need for improved and expanded highways as well as the environmental and social impacts of road expansion.

In the Classroom
No smart phones or Google Maps allowed! This classroom experience will challenge students to plan a vacation the old-fashioned way with paper maps and brochures. They will make decisions as a team, calculate their expenses, and plan their route! This activity also inspires curiosity and exploration of what the state of Missouri has to offer, as students browse historic sites and attractions throughout the state. (*Please note that portions of the activity may be cut out if your group arrives late and if your group is over 35 students, half of the group may do the classroom first).

 Please read our K-12 Policies before booking this program.

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Critical Thinking
Regardless of which field trip experience you choose, all of our programs are designed to emphasize the critical thinking skills students use in museums, the classroom, and as lifelong learners. These big goals drive our program creation, our staff training, and our program evaluation for a holistic and outcome-driven approach.

For all K–12 programs we strive to create and facilitate experiences in which learners will individually and collaboratively use Museum spaces, objects, and content to:

  • compare and contrast the past and present
  • make connections between the people, places, and stories of history and their personal experience
  • comprehend and evaluate multiple perspectives and past choices
  • express and support their own perspectives on history

Here are some Pre-Visit Activities and other resources.

Program Modifications
We understand that there are many factors that may cause your bus to be late. However, due to other group reservations and the schedules of our Museum Educators, we can't extend the length of your visit past your reservation time. If you arrive late, we'll do our best to still deliver the program you reserved; however, modifications may be necessary depending on your arrival time. For groups that are excessively late, significant changes to your program will be necessary.

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