Take a ride down historic Route 66 this summer without leaving Northeast Pennsylvania.
Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University, Dallas, presents the exhibit, “America’s Road: The Journey of Route 66,” from Saturday, June 16, through Sunday, Aug. 12. An opening reception kicks off Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. and will feature live music and light refreshments.
Curated by NRG! Exhibits, the show shares the history and fascination with the nearly 3,000-mile road that cuts through eight states. It features photographs, narrative, music and objects from the route often referred to as the “Main Street of America.” 
“We want to reach a family audience this summer now that the students are gone for vacation,” gallery director Lalaine Little said. “We wanted something that was highly interactive and emphasized a travel theme.”
Interactive segments of the exhibit include a drive-in theater experience, a “Guess the Artist” radio show and a “Populations Change Over Time” map.
The main draw of the exhibit is a photo essay by photographer and author Russell Olsen, who researched and photographed 75 classic Route 66 service stations, motor courts and cafes. The sites are juxtaposed on display with images from the mid-20th century and today.
“The nostalgia really hits for me; I’ve only been in the area since 2005, but as I drive up and down our own thoroughfare, we see signs of businesses, big spots and landmarks,” Little said. “Route 66 is the same experience, from road trips with the family, the familiar places you stop, the same games you play in the car, the songs you sing. It’s very much centered around family togetherness and sharing experiences.”
Route 66 opened on Nov. 11, 1926, as one of the original highways in the country, running from Chicago through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, Calif. Although the road is no longer a part of the U.S. Highway System, several states adopted sections of the road and created the state road network known as State Route 66, with parts of the historic route designated as a National Scenic Byway.
To further interest in the exhibit, the gallery partnered with the Northeast Pennsylvania Region Antique Automobile Club of America to host a Car Cruise on campus Saturday, July 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a rain date of Sunday, July 8. The event is free to spectators and exhibitors, but any donations made will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
A special event for children is scheduled for Wednesday, July 18, from 5 to 8 p.m., featuring a showing of the Disney-Pixar film “Cars III.” Families are invited to visit the exhibit, where children will receive an art car kit and goody bag. They can buy dinner at Misericordia’s Chick-fil-A Express and go to the dining hall to work on their cars and watch the film. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the night.
“We want folks to get a sense of the range of artifacts that are available. We want people to get the sense of being able to have a stay-cation or appreciate attractions around here at home,” Little said. “We have both a thriving arts community of people who participate and community of people who like to look at and interact with art. We want to be able to serve those folks who can’t necessarily get out to New York or Philadelphia or other collections. We want to bring as much of that here as possible.”