Smithsonian exhibit treks across Oklahoma on 'Journey'

United States, as well as westward expansion going to California," Pettyjohn said.

By the middle of the 19th century, people, produce and livestock were carried over canals and on railroads, including the First Transcontinental Railroad completed in 1869. The innovations kept accelerating, and in the first part of the 20th century, electric streetcars and automobiles were careening through towns and cities. It wasn't long before airplanes were tracing lines on skies over every major city.

While all the new modes of transportation impacted the progression of the U.S., nothing provided as much personal freedom as the car. Unpaved roads became scarce as the Interstate Highway System moved people and goods to every stretch of the country. The ease of mobility provided by the car and its growing popularity lead Americans to travel more than people anywhere else in the world.

"Journey Stories" is especially ideal for an Oklahoma audience, as movement connects with how the state was founded, including the American Indian removals, land runs, creation of coal and oil towns, and the formation of Route 66.

"The Oklahoma story is so rich with the Trail of Tears, but also with the Dust Bowl and the settlement of Oklahoma and the Homestead Act and the land run," Harsh said. "Those are such a big part of our American story, so we're delighted Oklahoma is part of this."

"?Allison Meier

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