Railway Museum Exhibits & Features

The San Francisco Railway Museum features both permanent and special exhibits that entertain and inform visitors about how streetcars and cable cars built the unique city we know today.

Current Exhibits

Take Me Out!

Despite the global fame of the cable cars, San Francisco transit was dominated by streetcars in the first half of the 20th century. People rode them everywhere: to work, to shop, to play, to pray.

Through rare archival photos and motion picture footage and interviews with San Franciscans who remember when their family car was a streetcar, we bring you a glimpse of the San Francisco that was: a Streetcar City!



Selling on Streetcars: Advertising Cards 1915-1958

Advertising on streetcars started a few years before the turn of the 20th century.  By 1917, 50,000 streetcars in 3,000 American cities carried ads. They were one of the most important advertising media of their era.

This exhibit shares San Francisco advertising “car cards” from the archives of the Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista Junction in Solano County.  They’re dated from 1915 to 1958.  Some reflect the cultural biases and stereotypes of those years when people of color and LGBT people were excluded from almost all advertising.

Come how old San Francisco businesses pitched to the public on board the city’s streetcars.