Mayor Edwin M. Lee, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and partners Market Street Railway (MSR) and Historypin announced the launch of “Treasures from the Muni Archive,” a new exhibit of photographs from Muni’s extensive archive celebrating the last 100 years. The exhibit is installed on Muni transit shelters along Market Street, at the MSR Museum and on Historypin, a project of the London-based non-profit We Are What We Do.
“San Francisco is excited to launch the ‘Treasures from the Muni Archive’ exhibit to engage the City about Muni’s rich past and begin the celebration of Muni’s centennial,” said Mayor Lee. “The high-tech features of this exhibit make history come alive and represent San Francisco’s commitment to innovation.”
“With nearly 30,000 photos in the SFMTA archive, we are pleased to have such a unique way to share them with residents and visitors,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “We are grateful to our long-standing partner, MSR, and one of our newest partners, Historypin, for making this exciting exhibit possible.”
“Our City has one of the richest transportation histories in America,” said MSR President Rick Laubscher. “We salute Muni for the work it is doing in preserving its own precious archives and sharing them with San Franciscans and visitors alike through this project. We’re proud to help on this and other activities marking Muni’s centennial.”
The SFMTA’s civic art project takes visitors from a traditional exhibit of approximately 20 archive images at the MSR Museum that were featured in the book, “San Francisco’s Municipal Railway: Muni,” to the city’s streets where semi-transparent, site-specific images have been mounted on the backs of Muni wave shelters along Market Street between the Museum and the Powell Cable Car turnaround. The physical exhibit is supported by an extensive online collection from Muni’s archives at Historypin.com.
“The SFMTA Photographic Archive’s innovative displays have turned bus shelters into free history museums,” said Historypin CEO Nick Stanhope. “While San Francisco may be the first city doing it, I fully expect this trend to catch on around the world.”
With the help of Historypin, the SFMTA can now share a tour of site-specific images. Shelter displays have a QR code that allow viewers to access a summary of the exhibit and a link to the free Historypin.com app. The app allows the viewer mobile access to Historypin’s site where they can explore numerous photos of their current location, explore the full Historypin collection or post their own photograph from that location. The SFMTA Archive’s page on Historypin will also be available on interactive monitors at the MSR Museum.
The Municipal Railway was founded on December 28, 1912. During Muni’s centennial year there will be several events to provide people with information about Muni’s world-renown transit history, including additional photography exhibits from Muni’s archive that dates back to the 19th century, vintage vehicles in City events and, in collaboration with MSR, a revival of the popular trolley festivals. Centennial events officially kick off in the Spring.