Saturday, January 12, 2013

Museum in the City- The San Francisco Railway Museum and Giftshop

San Francisco Railway Museum - SignageI ran a couple of errands on Saturday and Mijo and I were going to meet for lunch right after I finish. I was around the Ferry Building plaza when Mijo called to let me know he was running late. Since I was in the area and I needed to kill time, I decided to step inside the San Francisco Railway Museum.

The admission to this museum is free of charge and it doubles as a gift shop. My visiting the place was also timely because MUNI just celebrated its 100th year.

If you have been to San Francisco before, chances are you've seen the restored vintage street cars on Market St. going up and down from the Castro to Fisherman's Wharf. By the way, that is the F-line.  I recommend riding the F-line to anyone planning to visit the city. If you are a local, ditch the underground trains of BART and MUNI. I recommend riding the entire length of the F-line and back. Lots of things to see on the street level during the ride. The street cars are also beautiful, rustic and timeless. 

If you've admired these moving work of art, you will like the San Francisco Railway Museum and Giftshop. 

San Francisco Railway Museum - Facade
It was my first time to step inside this museum though I've passed by it so many times before. I asked the lady by the counter if they have a reciprocal membership and she informed me that there is no charge to go in. You know me. I'm IN if the admission is free!

San Francisco Railway Museum - Trolley
The place is small though it didn't look like it from the outside. It is probably a little over a thousand square foot. A big street car replica will greet you as you enter the museum. Lots of information about the history of transit in San Francisco and the restoration of street cars used in the city. There are also many old black and white  photos inside which show the city filled with street cars. I absolutely enjoyed watching a video clip made before the great earthquake of 1906. If you are a San Francisco history buff, I think this place is perfect for you. I asked the curator if I can take photos. She said that is fine except the black and white photos on the left wall.

San Francisco Railway Museum - Displays
Since the museum doubles as a gift shop, there are lots of items to buy for locals and tourists alike - greeting cards, mugs, tshirts, posters, postcards, DVDs, etc. I for one bought a bookmark and a fridge magnet. I especially liked the vintage posters and the old MUNI train routes and I imagined it would look nice framed.

San Francisco Railway Museum - Books
I have a different appreciation and better view of the MUNI and the San Francisco transit in general after coming here. This is another reason I feel very fortunate to live in a city like San Francisco.

The San Francisco Railway Museum and Giftshop is located on Steuart St. in the Hotel Vitale building near the Ferry Building. Visit for more information about the museum and the gift shop.


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