The New York Transit Museum is operated by the folks who know it best - the MTA. Who better to collect and display the history of the New York Transit system?
The museum features "Steel, Stone, and Backbone" about the building of the subways. The oldest artifacts in the museum are in the "On the Streets: Trolleys and Streetcars" section, which also describes the evolution of fuel technology in our buses.
Do you remember old tokens? They were the predominate fare on New York Subways and buses from 1953 until 2003, when the brass coins were replaced by the now-ubiquitous MetroCard. A permanent collection at the New York Transit Museum presents the token-operated turnstiles and the paper-machines dating back to 1904; visitors enter the stations like their grandparents once did. Once upon a time, the rider paid to get out - not to get in.