Management & Operations

Smithsonian unveils exhibition on American transportation

Posted on January 1, 2004

In a complete renovation of its transportation hall, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has unveiled a new permanent exhibition titled, "America on the Move," dedicated to the history of American transit. The exhibition will provide a multi-media educational experience on the role transportation has played in the nation's development. The exhibition encompasses 26,000 square feet on the first floor of the museum and features approximately 300 objects. Artifacts include 73 cast figures, set designs and soundscapes. "Mobility is the defining experience in American life,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “For the first time, the Smithsonian will be able to present its extraordinary transportation collections in an historical context.” Organized chronologically, the exhibition will use more than a dozen vignettes to portray the transportation collections in historic contexts. For example, visitors will be able to see objects such as a Chicago Transit Authority L car, a 92-foot Southern Railway locomotive and an actual piece of Route 66. “Transportation has clearly driven the economic engine of the last century, and continues to do so today,” said Norman Mineta, U.S. Transportation Secretary. “And now we stand at the threshold of a new chapter in the history of transportation. We are embarking on an adventure, exploring ways to improve transportation through innovation and technology. ‘America on the Move’ puts the role of transportation in forming our country and its economic growth in the proper perspective.” The exhibition, which opened to the public Nov. 22, is co-sponsored by General Motors, the American Public Transportation Association, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Alstom Transportation Inc. and several other major donors.

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