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America on the Move

America on the Move

November 22, 2003 – Permanent

Museum: American History Museum

Location: 1st Floor, East Wing, Transportation Hall

This major exhibition examines how transportation—from 1876 to 1999—has shaped our American identity from a mostly rural nation into a major economic power, forged a sense of national unity, delivered consumer abundance, and encouraged a degree of social and economic mobility unlike that of any other nation of the world.

Arranged chronologically and through 19 sections, historical moments explored include the coming of the railroad to a California town in 1876, the role of the streetcar and the automobile in creating suburbs outside of cities, and the transformation of a U.S. port with the introduction of containerized shipping in the 1960s.

Among the 300 objects on view, highlights include:

  • Electrifying Cars (October 27, 2011-January 2012) explores the history of the electric car from the early 20th century to the present and showcases two cars—a 1904 Columbia electric runabout, the best-selling car in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, and a 1913 Ford Model T touring car, a gasoline car equipped with an early type of electric starter and electric headlights.
  • "Jupiter," a steam-powered locomotive built in 1876 for the Santa Cruz Railroad
  • 260-ton "1401" locomotive, which pulled President Franklin Roosevelt's funeral train on part of its journey to Washington, D.C.
  • 1903 Winton was the first car driven across the U.S.—by H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker, with Bud the Dog as a passenger
  • 1926 Ford Model T Roadster; the Ford Motor Company ceased production of the Model T in 1927
  • 1942 Harley-Davidson motorcycle
  • Chicago Transit Authority "L" mass transit car built in 1959
  • a piece of U.S. Route 66, the "People's Highway," that connects Chicago to Los Angeles

Hands-on stations
Videos
Free brochure: America on the Move TripTik
Bilingual (English/Spanish) Family Guide
Companion book: $35 (cloth) 

More Information

Online Exhibition