The San Francisco Railway Museum opened the Wednesday after Labor Day three years ago. If you’ve never visited, come on by. If you have, come see recent additions!
Some folks, particularly from out of town, expect a huge hall with a bunch of streetcars and cable cars sitting on static display. Our manager, John Hogan, who is also one of the best ambassadors San Francisco has to its visitors, patiently explains that the real museums are just outside the door: the “Museums in Motion” of the F-line as well as the cable cars. But there’s still plenty to see inside.
Our facility serves to interpret the history of our city’s transit and how it made San Francisco the city it is today. Right now, we’ve got a nostalgic look back at the days when streetcars took San Franciscans to places like Playland at the Beach, Sutro Baths, Kezar Stadium and all sorts of other attractions. It’s called “Take Me Out,” and it includes a wonderful five-minute video, largely in color, of San Francisco streetcars in the 1940s. You won’t see this video on You Tube, or anywhere else except the museum.
We’ve also just finished interpretive panels for the 1927 streetcar model built at the shops of our namesake, Market Street Railway Company, by the same San Francisco crafts workers who built full-size streetcars from the ground up. Some great photos and stories there, and the 7-foot long model itself is amazing in its detail.
To make the museum accessible to as many folks as possible, we don’t charge admission, but we do welcome donations, and we offer unique gifts celebrating our transit history, including note cards, posters, mugs, and, yes, t-shirts, but definitely nothing you’d see in souvenir shops.
So come on down, and send this post to friends you think might enjoy the museum. Take the F-line to the museum for the complete experience. We’re at the Steuart Street F-line stop, just across The Embarcadero from the Ferry Building, and we’re open every day except Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.