Route 66, Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, and a major dose of local flavor are three of the many reasons the Missouri History Museum is celebrating record-breaking attendance in recent years.

With more than 517,000 visitors, the Missouri History Museum closed out 2016 with its highest attendance numbers since the 1930s. It marks the third consecutive year the museum in Forest Park surpassed 400,000 visitors, another first since the 1930s.

"Most museums rely on one big exhibit, often a traveling show, to get big numbers and then go back to business as usual," said Dr. Jody Sowell, director of exhibitions at the museum. "They see a huge fall in the numbers the next year. We have turned this practice on its head by making a commitment to tell more local stories, display more of our collection, and do it all in a new and compelling way. This philosophy is paying off with consistently high attendance numbers."

Staff members say recent exhibits featuring 1875 St. Louis, attractions along old Route 66, and the toys of the '50s, '60s, and '70s are examples of more interactive displays that put an emphasis on local topics.