Located in Downtown Brooklyn, New York, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to preserving the history and stories of mass transportation. Visitors will enter through a time tunnel of turnstiles and can ride in vintage subway cars or explore a wide variety of exhibits highlighting the vast and critical history of mass transportation.
Visitors will learn about feats of engineering, the workers who labored in unrelentingly difficult environments to build the transportation system we know today, the transformation of communities because of the addition of public transport, and the ever-evolving technology of transportation design and environmentally-friendly desings.
The history of mass transport is not the only thing visitors will learn about, they will also experience the future of mass transport and the social and environmental impact these evolving and expanding transportation methods will have on our society.
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The New York Transit Museum was founded in 1976 and is currently housed in an authentic underground subway station from 1936 in Downtown Brooklyn. The Museum has a working subway platform that spans a full city block and is contains twenty vintage subway cars, some of which date back all the way to 1907.
The museum currently receives thousands of visitors a year and has become a popular destination for school groups and educational programs.
Current & Upcoming Exhibitions:
Deconstruction of the Third Avenue El: Photographs by Sid Kaplan: This exhibit is on display from March – July 2017 and features a series of photographs taken in the summer of 1955 focused on the dismantling process of the Third Avenue Elevated Line.
Next Stop: Second Avenue Subway: This exhibit is on display through September 2017 and features more than 100 years of history exploring how the Second Avenue line fits into New York’s future of transportation. Construction officially began in the 1970s and was finally realized in 2016. Various historic maps, objects, and photographs are on display in this exhibit.
Bringing Back the City: Mass Transit Responds to Crisis: This exhibit will be on display throughout the remainder of 2017 and features a fresh perspective on the vital role that New York transit workers play in shaping public transit. Featuring severe events like 9/11, the 2003 Northeast Blackout, and Hurricane Sandy, this exhibit shows the mostly unseen yet critical role that these workers play in responding to these disasters.
Steel, Stone & Backbone: Building New York’s Subways: This exhibit focuses on the construction methods and required labor to build the very first subway line in New York City in the early 20th century. Various artifacts, videos and photographs are on display to bring this huge project to life.
Moving the Millions: This exhibit features the evolution of the subway, the largest transportation network in the country, and the major events that influenced its development. This is where visitors can spend time on a working platform that houses twenty vintage subway and elevated cars, some dating back to 1907.
On the Streets: New York’s Trolleys and Buses: This exhibit features above ground transport from the early 1800s to present day. There is a city bus, parking meters, traffic lights, and various other interactive street displays. Visitors can also learn about the evolution of environmentally friendly transportation methods.
Fare Collection: This exhibit tells the story of ticket collecting throughout history. From paper tickets to tokens, to the now popular MetroCards, this exhibit covers it all. There are even vintage and contemporary turnstiles dating all the way back to 1904.
No Spitting on the Platform: This exhibit features all kinds of signage from the Museum’s archives depicting various platform etiquette.
The Dr. George T.F Rahilly Trolley and Bus Study Center: This exhibit features more than 50 scale models of trolleys and various work cars.
Five Cents to Dreamland: A Trip to Coney Island: This exhibit opens March 12 at the Coney Island Museum location. Visitors can experience the world’s first amusement park and the pivotal role that horse-drawn carriages, steamboats, and railroads were to its development.
The Museum is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving the history of land-based transportation. It is one of the few museums in the world dedicate to telling the story of urban public transportation.
One of the best places to learn about urban public transport in via the archives and the Museum’s digital collections. The physical archives are housed in two locations in downtown Brooklyn and are accessible to researchers and the public. The digital collection houses over 10,000 photographs, posters, maps, and various artifacts. The database can be accessed online through the New York Transit Museum’s website.
Back to: Brooklyn
New York Transit Museum, Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, Phone: 718-694-1600