Built as a terminus for local trains in 1936, the station where the New York Transit is now housed was never much use to the city’s transport system due to the proximity of other, more efficient stations. In 1946, it was decided to shut down the station and a few years later, film directors began to use the area as a set for movies.
In 1976, it was decided to house a temporary exhibition in the subway station to honor the history of New York’s transport system, as part of the bicentennial celebrations of the United States. The exhibition proved so popular, however, that the idea was sprung to create a permanent museum in the station.
In the 1990’s, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority took over the running of the museum and expanded its scope to include other aspects of transportation in the city, such as bridges and commuter railroad history.