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Baxter Springs museum joins national Route 66 project - KOAM TV 7

Baxter Springs museum joins national Route 66 project

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BAXTER SPRINGS, KAN. - The Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum is joining the National Route 66 Archives and Research Collaboration.

Only 13.2 miles of Route 66 run through the state of Kansas but at the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum they say that small stretch is an important part of the roadways history.

"It is the first paved section of the road," says Patrick Richardson, the director of the museum.  "In fact, Route 66 was sent through Kansas because those 13.2 miles were already paved for the mining in the area.  So it's really a very important part of the route."

Richardson says the city's residents have a special place in their hearts for Route 66 as many Americans do.

The Route 66 Archives and Research Collaboration (ARC), wants to keep that alive.

"ARC's main focus is of course archives, including oral histories and documents and that sort of thing, but also preservation.  And that's a big part of the mission, is the preservation of the route because it's kind of like those oral histories, if we don't preserve it now it's going to be gone."

The museum will now serve as a centerpoint for those traveling Route 66 in Kansas.

That's something that Richardson believes will always continue as an American past-time.

"It's a worldwide thing - it's a huge phenomenon.  I mean, we have people here form Norway, big motorcycle tours that are here for a couple - three weeks, and they drive from Chicago to Pasadena, or Pasadena to Chicago, and they're going to do the whole route."

The Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum is always looking for photos, documents and personal stories of Route 66.

The National Park Service oversees the Route 66 Archive and Reseach Collaberation.

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By NINA CRISCUOLO

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