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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Share Your Route 66 Experience with Project MO Tell

Thomas Peters

Route 66 – the name itself is almost synonymous with mid-century nostalgia. Two Missouri State University researchers - Thomas Peters, dean of the libraries at MSU, and David Richards, associate professor of library science – are trying to preserve those memories for generations to come.

This is the second in a two part series featuring their current work.

  Driving around Springfield, it’s undeniable that there’s Route 66 pride – but how does a city become the “birthplace” of such an icon? Peters explains.

According to Peters, the highway started off as a cross country gravel and dirt road, that later became a national treasure.

MSU now serves as one of the repositories for Route 66 archives in order to make it more accessible to researchers and scholars. Peters and Richards recently were awarded a $5,000 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from its Innovation Fund. These funds will be used to develop Project MO Tell, a mobile, crowd-sourced archive containing both current and historic images, recordings and interpretive information about Missouri’s Historic Route 66 Motels, stretching from St. Louis to Joplin.

In Missouri, Peters and Richards estimate that approximately 100 motel properties exist along Route 66, and Peters and Richards say that you should slow down and take it in as you drive past – or better yet, stop in.

Approximately 12 years ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation attempted a census of all of these historic Route 66 properties – it was a beast of a project that was also quite expensive, noted Peters. Using mobile-friendly services such as Guide by Cell, Historypin, TagWhat and a dedicated YouTube channel, Project MO Tell will make it easy to create and share timely information gathered by everyone who travels, lives, works and stays along this historic corridor.

Partner organizations in Project MO Tell include the Route 66 Association of Missouri  and the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office, which facilitates the process of identifying properties significant to the citizens, state and nation, and planning for their preservation.

The project will allow people to call in to a number and explain the current state of the property, or upload a video or photo. They are working to distribute rack cards throughout the Springfield area to make the information widely available.

Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work in the office of strategic communication. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State.
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