Route 66 Black history museum uses street signs to point to the past

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Colorful street signs with the names of Black men who left a lasting impact on the community and a mural featuring a roadmap of the area’s history now point passersby to Springfield’s checkered past outside newly reopened Route History, a museum highlighting Black stories around historic Route 66.

“I love how they expanded it to the outdoors,” said Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder, who was among those in attendance for last Friday’s ribbon cutting. “It kind of engages the person that’s just walking by wondering what’s in there. Now you have that interactive space from the outside. They’ll draw you into the inside. So they’ve done a great job of grabbing someone’s attention and teaching an important part of our history.”

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