The Museum of Transportation houses what has been recognized as one of the largest and best collections of transportation vehicles in the world. The museum was founded in 1944 by a group of historically minded citizens who had acquired the mule-drawn streetcar "Bellefontaine." In 1948, land was acquired at Barrett's Station in St. Louis County along the right-of-way of the historic Missouri Pacific Railroad. Over the years, the mule-drawn streetcar was joined by hundreds of other significant exhibits. Today its mission is to be the leader in protecting and interpreting North America's transportation heritage.
Located on 129 acres, the museum is approximately 16 miles southwest of downtown St. Louis on a site which includes one of the two first man-made train tunnels west of the Mississippi River. The museum site also features more than four miles of switching and exhibition track, and its 10 buildings include a nationally acclaimed research library of transportation-related memorabilia and documents.
With over 70 locomotives, over half of them "one-of-a-kind" or "sole survivors" of their type, the museum has one of the most complete collections of American railroad motive power, and its collections of automobiles, buses, streetcars, aircraft, horse-drawn vehicles and riverboat materials are constantly expanding to reflect the ever-changing nature of transportation.