Collections

Collections

The mission of the New York Transit Museum is to collect, exhibit, interpret and preserve the structural, sociological, and technological history of land-based public transportation systems in the New York metropolitan region, past and present, and to conduct research and educational programs that make its extensive collection accessible and meaningful to the broadest possible audience.

Research at the New York Transit Museum Archives

Contact:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 718-694-1068

Have a research question? Complete this form and send it to [email protected].

The New York Transit Museum has two Archive locations open to visitors by appointment and with advanced notice. Requests for appointments are required to be submitted two weeks prior to the desired visit date.

The Museum Research Archivist can assist with specific details of your reference question or research query. Please contact them directly and please be sure to include an email address to confirm receipt of your inquiry and to schedule an appointment if necessary. For more information about visiting the Archives, click here. 

Reproduction and Licensing Fees

The Transit Museum charges fees for the use of items from its historical collections. These fees enable the Museum to continue to preserve and catalogue materials and help expand research access to our vast collection. All research fees are due prior to release of any requested materials.  An agreement must be signed stating compliance with all rules and conditions for use as required by the New York Transit Museum Archives. Learn more about Fees, Reproduction, and Licensing here.

Please note that licensing fees vary dependent upon the intended use of requested information.

Digital Collections

Over 10,000 photographs, posters, maps, and artifacts from the Museum’s collection can be viewed online. Materials are searchable by keyword and custom database fields; or you may choose to view random images by simply browsing the catalog.

To view our online Digital Collections, please visit this website.

Contribute to the Collection

The New York Transit Museum collection holds close to one million objects. A significant portion of which has come to the collection through personal donation. Please note: before mailing anything or bringing any items to the Museum please review the following guidelines on how to contribute to our collection:

Send an email to our Registrar with the following information:

  • Your full name and best method of contact
  • Description: What is it? How many? Where is it located? How is it stored?
  • Condition: Excellent? Good? A little wear and tear? Please describe the overall condition
  • Dates: Any dates relating to when something was made as well as used
  • Provenance: Ownership of item(s) and/or transfer from one person to another
  • Personal Connection: Additional information or stories to help give context to the objects
  • Images: Images of the object(s) greatly assist the Collections Committee while evaluating

All possible new acquisitions are reviewed monthly by the Museum’s Collections Committee, a dedicated group comprised of Curatorial, Archives, and Education staff. The committee makes decisions based on relevance to the Transit Museum’s mission and scope of the collection. Due to limited storage space and other resources, not all inquiries are approved by the committee. This means the New York Transit Museum reserves the right to accession or to decline to accession any item that has been submitted for donation consideration.

The Transit Museum requests all potential donors refrain from shipping items, handing materials to employees, or dropping objects off before speaking with our Collections staff.