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What Is the London Transport Museum?

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  • Written By: P.M. Willers
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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The London Transport Museum, or LT Museum, is a public museum located in Covent Garden, in central London. Visitors may arrive at the museum using public transport, exiting at the Covent Garden tube station. The mission of the museum is to display and highlight the connection between the city and its transportation systems since 1800. Visitors can primarily expect to see numerous examples of historical transport vehicles, and art and posters related to the London transport system.

London is home to famous icons of transport, including the red double-decker Routemaster busses, the Underground, and the London Black Cab. These recognizable people movers have a long history in the city, and examples of each have been preserved in the interest of visitors to the museum. Dozens of trains, busses, trams, trolley cars, and taxi cabs, among others, may be found on display in the museum. Visitors to the London Transport Museum can see how each mode of transport has progressed and modernized over the decades, culminating in the modern system that is in use today.

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Beyond the typical vehicles on display, the London Transport Museum also features a large collection of posters commissioned by the London Transport since the early twentieth century. The collection is an important showcase of the history of British graphic design, featuring over 1,000 pieces of original art from British artists and designers. These posters were an invaluable promotional tool in the early days of the London Underground, eventually helping foster the iconic status of many British public transport vehicles. Historically important as well, the posters are a fine example of wartime propaganda created and used for national purposes.

The London Transport Museum is open seven days a week, and guided tours are also offered on certain days. Tours offer visitors a chance to learn more detailed information about the preserved vehicles and art on display in the museum, which is spread over three levels. On the ground floor, there are typically current exhibitions on display, as well as the permanent exhibition on underground and surface transport in London. Level 1 highlights the history of the steam underground in London and the growth of the suburbs, while level 2 showcases nineteenth century London.

Frequently, the London Transport Museum also hosts special exhibitions that vary in scope and theme, and last anywhere from about a month to nearly a year. Certain exhibitions allow the museum to showcase a certain aspect of the London Transportation system on a more in-depth level, whether it be obscure or iconic. Others present a moment in history from the perspective of public transport. Past exhibitions have featured the London Underground, bus shelter art, and wartime London.

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