The Route 66 Memory Project: A Digital Platform for Participatory Research and Citizen Science in History

Daniel Milowski, Arizona State University

U.S. Route 66 was an American federal highway that historically facilitated significant western migration and where substantial environmental modification was required to support establishing permanent non-indigenous human settlements and automobile-oriented transportation infrastructure. Within this engineered transformation, complex human communities developed that reflected all of the major social issues coursing through American society at the time and unique characteristics related to specific regional aspects of race, class, and gender that stratified the communities and the highway for both residents and travelers. At the height of its use in the 1950s and 60s, the route handled thousands of Americans migrating west or acting as tourists. These travelers experienced all of the aspects of highway travel during this period including the racial, class, and gender disparities involved in automobile travel throughout this era. Much of this social history is not archived. However, rather than lost, it is simply housed in the personal records and memories of the migrants and tourists who used the road until its demise in 1985. The Route 66 Memory Project is an online digital platform that puts HGIS technology in the hands of these citizens to capture this data for historical presentation and analysis. Under development now, the platform will be released in May 2020. The platform will be promoted through Route 66 tourist sites and preservation organizations as well as local media. This paper will summarize the development of the platform, detail platform functionality, and showcase historical data collected by the platform to date.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 56. Expert and Local Knowledge in Land Use