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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes

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Exterior photo of National Museum of American History, Behring Center, in Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian Institution invites you to visit America on the Move at the National Museum of American History, Behring Center, in Washington, D.C.

America on the Move highlights the Smithsonian’s unparalleled and extremely popular transportation collections in new and creative ways. Using multimedia technology, immersive environments, and other theatrical techniques, America on the Move brings ships, trains, trucks, and automobiles back to life—or, more accurately, back to history. See these artifacts as they once were: moving people and products from place to place, a vital part of the nation’s transportation system, a vital part of our business, social, and cultural history.

As you travel through America on the Move, you will encounter vehicles in historical vignettes, each set in a particular place and time between 1876 and 2000. Become a part of the crowd welcoming the Jupiter locomotive to Santa Cruz, California, in 1876. Watch as H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker try to pull their car out of the mud as they race to be the first to drive an automobile across the country in 1903. Come aboard a ship in New York Harbor. Explore the role of the railroads in our national life as you admire the 92-foot Southern Railway locomotive 1401 in 1920s Salisbury, North Carolina. Watch a family move into suburban Park Forest, Illinois, in the 1950s, and ride a Chicago “L” rapid-transit car into the city. Stand on the dock of Oakland’s container port in the 1970s and find out how containers changed dock work and the way companies do business. In these—and in all the exhibition’s settings—sights, sounds, and other sensations will transport you back in time.

Exhibit Guides

In the Learning Resources section of this site, you will find printable exhibition guides for families with children, activities for school groups, details on arranging a school-group visit to the Museum, as well as related reading material and web links.

America on the Move
Museum Information

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