A new mobile museum... inside a bus!

The History of Transit… on wheels!

Who we are
We are a non-profit Transit Museum and we collect, catalogue and display artifacts and memorabilia on Transit in British Columbia. We also keep and maintain a collection of vintage buses with a history of service, especially in the Vancouver area.

Do Museums Matter?
We think museums provide a glimpse of the past and help give us context for the present. When we ask people what they like about our exhibits, they tell us that they bring back pleasant memories and give them a sense of what it was like in simpler times when their parents and grandparents were young.

We are a Registered Charity and can provide tax receipts upon request for donations.

Where are we?
We don’t have a museum that people can visit. The local transit authority has been kind enough to provide a warehouse where we can store buses and keep a library of books and manuals. We have an area to catalog and store relics such as driver uniforms, fareboxes, transit maps and other items that people donate or that we find at swap meets and antique stores.

The only opportunity people have to view our collection is to visit our mobile museum which is a 1957 General Motors “Old Look” bus. It has display cases with eye-catching exhibits and an audio-visual presentation of film and video showcasing the history transit. The mobile museum goes out to between 20 and 30 community events every year including all 15 days of the Pacific National Exhibition Fair. It’s not unusual for 2,000 to 5,000 people to walk through our displays each day. We think it shows that people do indeed care about museums and we have found that by bringing the museum out to the community, more people have access.

How it works
The mobile museum is always free. We have a team of volunteer hosts who are on hand to explain exhibits and help elderly people on and off the bus. We have another team of volunteers who maintain our displays and update the audio-visual presentations. Our organization is composed of 100% volunteers. From our drivers, our hosts, librarian, mechanics, bookkeeper and our Board of Directors, not one person gets paid.

Retiring the old Mobile Museum
The engine and transmission on our 1957 Museum Bus is worn out. The bus still looks great from the outside but the cost to rebuild the old Detroit Diesel engine is too expensive and parts are hard to find. Even if we could rebuild the engine, we have no place to do it. We would like to keep the bus intact with all the displays still active and save it for a future museum as a static display. In the meantime, we continue to send this bus out to community events with the hope it will last.

What We’re Asking For
We own a 1982 General Motors “New Look” bus that we would like to use as a platform to build a new Mobile Museum. The bus is a good candidate as it’s mechanically sound but it’s over 40 years old and will require some restoration. The new mobile museum will need display cases and an audio-visual system. The bus is wider and longer than our present museum bus and will give us more room for interactive displays. The GM “New Look” buses were the workhorses for most transit systems in North America and especially in British Columbia. Today most people identify that bus as the one they took to work or school. These “New Look” buses started disappearing off the streets at the turn of the millennium as they were retired.

Putting it Simply
We will remove the seating and interior, keeping the seats and stanchions with the thought that someday we might return it as a functional bus. We will build display cabinets, upgrade lighting, put in an audio-visual system and install interactive displays to enhance the experience. We plan on using battery power technology for the internal museum.

We have to do bodywork to remove rust and prepare for painting. We will likely repaint the bus in it’s existing red with blue and white trim and the fluted side panels will be painted grey. We can do the prep work ourselves but will have to contract the actual paint job. We will put graphic displays over the existing windows.

We can do most of the vehicle infrastructure work ourselves but we will have to buy brake and suspension parts, hoses, air lines and tanks and do some rust remediation on the underside of the bus.

Please Donate if Museums Matter to You
No one in our organization will be paid a cent from your donation, however experts may be brought in to consult and if we identify the need for any heavy mechanical work, it must be sent out to a certified diesel shop. We may have to do the work in phases if our existing Museum Bus fails and has to be taken off the road. This summer we will leave the bus intact and take it to some of our community events to spare our current mobile museum. On October 1st we will take the bus off the road and start with removing the interior and beginning the building phase. At the same time, our volunteer mechanics will be working under the bus on rust remediation, and making a plan for identifying issues with wheels, brakes, suspension and tires.

Our volunteers only work one day a week and for 5 or 6 hours so the duration of the project may last a year or two. We will keep our donors apprised of the timeline.
We will keep a progress report going on this website as well as an ongoing blog on www.transitmuseumsociety.org There will be ample opportunity to make comments.

Donations (21)

See top
  • Ian Fisher
    • $75 (Offline)
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Elfren Ordanza
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Martin Wu
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Catherine Pellowski-Wright
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
See all


Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically tax deductible in Canada.

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.