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SIUE alum curates local Route 66 exhibit


It was an evening course at an Illinois junior college that first sparked Sharon Smith’s interest in history.

smith sharon1.jpgThat spark ignited into a flame while Smith went on to achieve both a bachelor’s and master’s in historical studies from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and it is still burning brightly today.

Smith (left) is curator of civic and personal identity at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis. She’s been with the History Museum in Forest Park for 27 years, after gaining employment within six months of earning her graduate degree at SIUE.

In keeping with her current title, Smith conducts research and works with portions of the library’s collection that hold a unique connection to St. Louis. Her latest exhibit, Route 66: Main Street Through St. Louis, is on display at the Missouri History Museum through July 2017.

“Many people know something about Route 66. It might be the song by Bobby Troupe. It might be that Ted Drewes is an historic landmark on Watson Road or Historic 66. This exhibit is unique in that it mentions the entire road, but focuses a lot on St. Louis and Missouri,” she said.

The Route 66 exhibit includes 11 lit neon signs, five vehicles, including a 1963 Corvette, and a drive-in movie experience where visitors can watch a 12-minute video of Route 66 through Missouri.

— From the Illinois Business Journal

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