Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club

The Dashboard A publication of the
Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club.
A not-for-profit corporation.
A chapter of Bow Tie Chevys
and Classic Chevy International.
September 2000

Exhibit chronicles Great Depression migration

CLINTON -- A traveling exhibit on the westward migration of Oklahomans during the Great Depression of the 1930s will be presented from through Oct. 25 at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton.

The exhibit, "Going down the Road Feelin’ Bad: Oklahoma and the Great Depression," will be available for viewing during regular museum hours and at regular admission fees, said Director Pat Smith, who manages the museum for the Oklahoma Historical Society.

"This traveling exhibit is especially appropriate for the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum," said Smith, "because so many of the Oklahomans who migrated west during the 1930s traveled on Route 66." The exhibit features 60 photos to tell the story of the families that moved from Oklahoma to California and Arizona during that period.

A team of Farm Security Administration photographers took the images of the migrants to draw attention to their plight, Smith said. The photographers included Arthur Rothstein, Russell Lee and Dorthea Lange.

"Through their photograph records," Smith said, "they convinced the public that the migration was real and not the invention of John Steinbeck, who wrote ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ Similar to Steinbeck's book, the photos were taken on and near Route 66." At that time, Route 66 was the fastest way to get to California and the only way for some.

The exhibit is sponsored locally by the Friends of the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. It is part of a traveling exhibit project of the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the Oklahoma Museums Association.

The project is funded with support from Sonic, American's Drive-in; the McCasland Foundation, the Union Pacific Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The exhibit can be viewed without charge in the "Wow!" reception room of the museum, said Smith.

The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum will be open during the fall, including September and October, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Smith at (580) 323-7866 or via email at patsm@ok-history.mus.ok.us.

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