The New York Subway: A Century of Progress in Motion - 1904-2004
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#7 - The New York Transit Times
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Museum Resources Related References Educators Notes

Museum Resources:
The New York Transit Museum is located at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York. The Museum provides a wide array of rich resources to assist in primary research and inquiry-based learning about the history of the subway. The following Museum resources pertain directly to this activity:

  • Elevated City: A History of the Els in New York is a a popular photo-exhibition that is installed in the Museum’s mezzanine level. The exhibition takes a retrospective look at New York City’s first mass transportation rail lines, from their birth to their demise. Elevated rail lines of the 1800s enabled people to travel beyond their immediate neighborhoods. With a newfound freedom to travel and escape the surly bounds of lower Manhattan, this ‘commuter class’ of city residents established new communities outside Manhattan throughout the spacious outer boroughs.

  • Steel, Stone & Backbone: Building New York’s Subways 1900–1925: This Museum exhibition presents a look at the building of New York City’s first subway line, various tunneling methods, and the people who built it, has been completely refurbished. The exhibition features pictures taken over 100 years ago during construction, along with historical artifacts and period videos. The faces of the workers and images of the birth of the subway evoke a sense of awe and appreciation for the dedication, tenacity and sacrifice of the men who built the subway.

  • Moving the Millions: A new exhibition on the platform level, Moving the Millions: New York City’s Subways from its Origins to the Present provides student visitors with an overview of the magnitude and complexity of New York City’s rapid transit system. The exhibition uses historical photographs, diagrams, cartoons, period maps, and newspaper clippings to illustrate major issues and events that influenced the development of the largest transportation network in North America. While touring Moving the Millions student visitors to the Museum may board the Museum’s vintage collection of subway and elevated trains and visit a working signal tower. New York City Transit’s Division of Car Equipment has lovingly refurbished the Museum’s unparalleled collection of vintage subway and elevated cars.

  • Fare Collection: A Museum exhibit on fare collection is illustrated by representative examples of various collection devices used throughout the subway system’s history. Visitors may interact with these devices for a uniquely tactile retrospective experience. The exhibit features the first paper ticket-choppers used in 1904, later turnstile designs that accepted coins and tokens, the MetroCard turnstile currently in operation, and a graphic timeline underscoring milestones in fare collection as well as the fifty-year history of the token. Images from the Museum’s archives not previously displayed show these reliable vintage turnstiles in use in their respective eras.


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New York Transit Museum Centennial Subway Student Activity Depot