Pity the American bus aficionado. It seems unfair that in North America we don’t really appreciate our buses. Americans seem to prefer automobile, train, aviation and even space museums. That’s in sharp contrast to Europe and elsewhere in the world where buses are celebrated at museums like the London Bus Museum and lovingly documented on sites like YouTube and Reddit.
Here at home, we have to do a bit more traveling to satisfy our bus cravings. Fortunately, there are several bus-themed museums and events that are well worth a visit. Not all buses at these museums are in complete working order, but each of them offers a fascinating glimpse into our transit history.
Part of the AACA Museum, the Museum of Bus Transportation has approximately two dozen vintage buses in their collection, including the bus used in the film “Forrest Gump.” Buses from the early 20th century through to the 1990’s are displayed.
Location: 161 Museum Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033
Hours: Daily 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Learn the history of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, a turning point in the US civil rights movement, and see important historical artifacts, including a Montgomery city bus like the one Rosa Parks sat in, and her original arrest document.
Location: 252 Montgomery Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Saturday: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Note: The museum will be closed for updates from November 27th.
A collection of more than twenty buses, most of which originally served in the western US region, plus other vintage bus memorabilia. The museum also exhibits at area events.
Location: 37974 Shinn Street, Fremont, California
Hours: First and third Saturdays of the month, 10:00 AM -2:00 PM
The NYC Transit Museum holds a free one-day bus festival in downtown Brooklyn each summer featuring vintage buses that served the city from the 1940’s to the 1980’s. This year’s event has passed, so watch for announcements about the 2024 festival. The museum also has a permanent bus exhibit entitled “On the Streets: New York’s Trolleys and Buses.”
Location: 99 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Museum Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Working electric streetcars are the key attraction at this museum an hour outside of Toronto, but the collection also features several vintage buses – including a 19th century horse-drawn omnibus and a restored former Kitchener Transit bus.
Location: 13629 Guelph Line, Milton, Ontario
Hours: vary – check the website for the latest.