Meet Steve Brant, the Founder and Director of the
Route 66 Spirit of America Museum

In the contest between the light and dark sides of the American spirit, which side will win?

Steve Brant has been aware the American spirit has both light and dark sides since childhood. His father had severe mental health issues that made him an angry, hateful, bigoted, domineering man. His mother – who had had a successful career as a dancer on Broadway before getting married – had her hands full, as she sought to protect herself and her children from this psychological and at times physical assault. Steve wrote about his childhood in an September 2017 essay for The Huffington Post because the film “Wonder Woman” caused him to remember one painful experience when his mother did something extremely brave. The film’s ability to help Steve realize his mother was his first “Wonder Woman” fit a pattern in Steve’s life: Motion pictures and television shows had always helped him think about life… first, during his own very challenging childhood and, second, when he thought about the challenges all people face here on planet Earth.

While his mother represented the light, love-based side of the American spirit at a personal level, Steve was exposed to the love-based side at a global level at age seven. That was when (by an accident of fate, since he grew up in NYC) Steve visited the United Nations with the rest of his second grade class. Spending a day learning about how World Peace was the job of the U.N. left a lasting impression on Steve. And the combination of those early family and societal “spiritual contrasts” sowed the seeds for the creation of the Route 66 Spirit of America Museum, which was formally launched on June 10, 2023.

Steve “completed the circle” with his childhood U.N. experience, when in 2019 – thanks to the UN Association of the USA – he asked a world peace oriented question of a panel that was discussing nuclear arms control.

Steve’s question mirrors one of the Think Different themes of the Route 66 Spirit of America Museum: “Instead of doing more of the same, we need to think about doing things completely new and different”. However, as different as his question was, it did not address where Steve now believes the true solution lies: the spiritual connection between all people. And it is that connection – born of our own, sometimes dormant, dreams – that the Route 66 Spirit of America Museum seeks to add to the public conversation… to the question of what the next Big Leap for our country can be.

The spirit of America is being tested now in ways more extreme than any time in recent history. As 2026 approaches (which is both the Centennial of Route 66 and the 250th birthday of America), Steve believes the story the museum tells, the stories it will collect from others, and the educational programs it will offer can contribute to a better understanding of the choices all Americans face in our continuing quest to create that self-governing, “more perfect union” the Declaration of Independence and Constitution call on us to create.

Additional Key Biographical Details
Civilian Design Engineer, Project and Program Manager, US Army Corps of Engineers
Program Manager, NYC Dept of Transportation
Founding Board Member, New York CitiWorks, Inc (non-profit organization)
Committee Leader, Community Quality Councils Committee, American Society for Quality
Project Director, Community Quality Council for NYC Project
Legislative Advocacy Team Member, NY State Quality Council Project
Connections Program Leadership Team, John Denver’s Windstar Foundation

Advocate, President Bill Clinton’s Presidents Council on Sustainable Development
Volunteer Leader, USA Network, UN Global Compact
Blogger, The Huffington Post
Board Member, Oklahoma Route 66 Association

For inquiries about Spirit of America Museum or Steve, call 918-968-0057 or email steve@route66spiritofamericamuseum.org