About the Museum > Museum History
Since 2008, The Transportation Museum has been a unique, one-day event for toddlers, adults, and everyone in between. Each year, visitors are treated to interactive and educational exhibits related to all kinds of transportation, from the Transcontinental Railroad and projects to solve Bay Area traffic to programming miniature robots and solving an Amtrak-themed escape room.
As a young child, museum director Andrew Mancini loved transportation of all kinds, especially trains. In fact, at the age of five, he had memorized all of the stations on the Caltrain line and knew all of the train engine numbers.
As a way to share his love for, and knowledge of, transportation with friends, family, and neighbors, Andrew created The Transportation Museum at the age of five. The museum, like those in subsequent years, occurred on a single day during the summer at Andrew's house. Early exhibits included displays of the schedules of every Bay Area transit route, organized on the family sofa; learning about the R.M.S. Titanic by allowing guests to send their own Morse code messages; and slot car racing at the "Grapefruit 500," a track set up on the cover of the hot tub in Andrew's backyard.
In 2013, Andrew wrote hand-written, personalized letters to transit agencies in the 40 largest cities in the U.S. and each transit agency in California and Nevada. Over 75 percent of these organizations wrote back, sending in not just the schedules and maps that were requested, but also fun items — chapstick, Yo-Yo toys, and rain ponchos — branded with their logo, forming the foundation of what is today the museum collection.
A longtime visitor favorite, the Bus Driver simulation game
has been featured at the museum since 2012.
Two years later, recognizing the need for a larger and more flexible space for the museum's exhibits, Andrew moved the museum to Brittan Acres Elementary School, where the museum was held on a Sunday in the fall of 2015. Since then, the museum has been held annually at Brittan Acres, attracting an increasingly larger audience of locals, families, and transportation fans from across the San Francisco Bay Area. Exhibits included topics ranging from exploring the legacy of the Transcontinental Railroad, celebrating 150 years in 2019, to analyzing the benefits and drawbacks of transit villages in the Bay Area, with hands-on activities including VR footage of trains around the world, an airport-themed escape room, and more.
Each year brings all-new exhibits to the museum, while maintaining the unique mixture of education and interactivity within each exhibit. To Andrew, this enables visitors of all ages, including those who may not be the biggest transit fanatics, to have an enjoyable time at the museum.
Museum Director: Andrew Mancini
From memorizing the details of every SamTrans route, to driving to local Caltrain stations to watch bullet trains fly past, Andrew has many memories of his interest for transportation at a young age. It was this passion — in the summer of 2008, when Andrew was five years old — that led him to create the first Transportation Museum.
In the years since, Andrew has maintained his passion for transportation, while also expanding his interest to travel, both locally and globally, and history, particularly the 19th century in California and Nevada. He loves traveling to off-the-beaten path places (like the middle of Nevada or the small towns of California's Central Valley), staying at unique hotels and eating at unusual restaurants, and visiting each town's local history museum. (For Andrew's favorite things to do locally, see the Bay Area Attractions page.)
Throughout the year, Andrew stays updated on local and national policies, particularly those related to urban development, integrating transit agencies, and legislation affecting Amtrak, America's national rail passenger service. He has traveled across the country on the train for a month, and in high school, he was a nationally-ranked Parliamentary debater, discussing current events and politics. When Andrew isn't planning a trip or designing the next year's Transportation Museum, he is often reading about travel, practicing trombone, or rooting for the New York Mets.
Andrew is currently a freshman at Stanford University, planning to pursue a degree in Urban Studies or Public Policy.
Curious about the museum or Andrew's interest in transportation? Feel free to send him an email, no matter what you want to know.
Andrew visiting the San Francisco Streetcar Museum in 2008 and 2016.