America on the Move
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 settings 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:
- “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, 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
- 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 connected Chicago to Los Angeles
A self-guided highlights tour is available online in the following languages:
Journey though the history of the United States to learn how transportation changed American lives and landscapes. See behind-the-scenes stories about collecting and preparing objects for the exhibition. Discover hundreds of objects in our transportation collections. Visit the website.