The Ohio Museum of Transportation
Frequently Asked Questions About Us
Q: What does your group do?
A: The Ohio Museum of Transportation preserves transit coaches as well as information on the transit systems in the State of Ohio. Although we are primarily focused on the Cleveland Ohio area, we have expanded in recent years to include all transit systems in the state.
Q: Do you actually take any of your buses anywhere?
A: Yes!!! We have periodic fan trips with some of our coaches. In addition we have taken our coaches to some community/public events such as the Flxible Rally in Loudenville OH, Depot Days in Orrville OH, the annual Christmas parade in Toledo OH.
Q: Can I drive one of your buses?
A: Our members are allowed to operate the coaches within the Museum grounds. Due to insurance and licensing requirements, only qualified CDL licensed drivers can operate them on the public roads. The buses need to be started and driven on a regular basis to help prevent problems from developing from sitting around. We have ample room at our site to give our coaches a nice exercise run.
***Currently we are somewhat restricted at our current location.
Q: How many of your buses are ready for service?
A: To date, we have one restored coach and several that are still in "as taken out of service" condition that are roadworthy. There many additional coaches in our collection that can be operated on the Museum grounds but need some minor work to make them roadworthy.
Q: How did the Ohio Museum of Transportation start?
A: Back in 1990, several transit enthusiasts saw the need to preserve the bus transit history of the Cleveland area. Trolley museums across the country have been preserving the light rail transit history of America for decades and this more or less was the inspiration. After the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority took over transit operations from the Cleveland Transit System and the suburban operators, what has always been appeared destined to become just a memory. In forming the Ohio Museum of Transportation, the founders wished to preserve the memories of the transit scene in Cleveland in a more physical form than just a few mementos. Our Museum has since expanded its scope to all of Ohio.
Q: Where are you located?
A: Although our official address is in Toledo OH, part of the collection is stored in Kent OH while other coaches are stored at various facilities throughout Ohio. Originally we had the collection in Orrville OH and made the move to our new location in 1998 through the help of many of our members. Due to nature of our Museum, please contact us is you wish to visit and we will do all we can to accommodate your time schedule and requests. Our E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What else do you do besides collect buses?
A: Although the coach collection takes the bulk of our time (operating, mechanical work, restoration, cleaning), we also are building a Museum library up through the donations of books, schedules, pictures, etc. to preserve the history. We also attend various community/public events and operate periodic fan trips. We also make available parts of our collection to the film industry for "period" movies where they need an older bus to help set a city scene.
Our library is currently not readily available as we have no building in which to house it. When we do, the library will be available to our membership. Currently we are posting some of the archive material in the Members Section of our site to provide access to the information.
Q: Are you truly a non-profit group?
A: Yes. We are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (section 501c3) and the State of Ohio as a non-profit group. All donations to our Museum are tax deductible.
Q: Do you have people other than bus fans in your organization?
A: Difficult question to answer but yes we do. We have members that have joined just because they see the need for a museum such as ours. They aren't necessarily "bus fans" but they see the need to preserve a part of the past, which they remember. Many "rail fans" are members of our organization as well as they see the need to preserve the whole of transit history and not just parts of it.
Q: Are you financed by or affiliated with any companies?
A: Not at all. We are an all volunteer group simply working towards preserving Ohio's transit history. All our money comes through member donations and fund raising activities such as our Museum Store.
Q: Why do you promote buses over streetcars?
A: We favor ALL forms of public transit. We do not favor one mode above the other. As there are several rail preservation groups in the state already, the founders of our group saw the need to preserve a part of history that was quickly fading away. Overall we are a bus museum however a good number of our members are "rail fans" as well. The Ohio Museum of Transportation was actually a spin-off from a local trolley museum near Cleveland. In time, once this web site is established, streetcar related information will be posted as well since it is an important part of Ohio's public transit history.
Q: Will you ever preserve a streetcar?
A: That's a difficult question to answer. Currently we do not have the facilities to store or operate a streetcar. It is hard to say what the future will bring. As there are several streetcar preservation groups in the state already, it is unlikely that we will but one never fully knows what the future may hold.
Q: How long does it take to restore a bus and how much work you do on your own?
A: The time it takes varies on the condition of the coach. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. We do as much of the work in restoring a bus as we can. There are things we cannot easily do and will send a bus out to an outside firm when it's needed but if we can do it, we do. Our CTS Coach #641 was restored over 90% by our members. Only the major engine work had to be done outside of the Museum.
Q: How do you get parts for all of those old buses?
A: From several sources. We have scavenged junk yards for many of the parts but we have been lucky enough to have transit systems donate or sell to us very cheaply surplus parts that they no longer use due to the retirement of the coaches that used those parts. We have also been able to purchase some parts we need at bus part suppliers. Also many of the parts on the coaches can be rebuilt and we have done that as well.
Q: What would have happened if your organization did not exist?
A: Much of Ohio's public transit history would have been lost or difficult for someone interested in it to obtain access to information. Much or our physical collection of buses most likely would have been lost forever as many of the buses would have been scrapped. Many of the coaches we have were rescued from scrap yards. Information would have remained in private hands and most likely not passed on to anyone else. We constantly are finding information out that we are recording in order to preserve it for future generations. This information ranges from physical paper items to the memories of people that once worked for one of the many transit systems in Ohio (i.e. how and why things were done the way they were in the old days).
Q: What is your Land Acquisition Fund?
A: Our Land Acquisition Fund is to raise money for a single location for our collection. Currently we are on rented land and have some restrictions placed on us so we are unable to care for our collection as much as we would like to. In addition, having our own land will allow us to build a small garage for maintenance and restoration as well as have a visitor center to house our archive collection. It is paramount to our survival that we acquire our own land to store our collection and bring it all together. Donations made to this fund will be used solely for the purpose of acquiring land for the Museum. Donations of any size are welcome and are fully tax deductible.
Q: Do you have anything that is truly unique in your collection?
A: We have several coaches that can be classified as unique. One such coach was manufactured by Flxible which was a major Ohio bus builder and is the only remaining Flxible "new-look" that was re-bodied with a Flxible 870 style body in an experimental bus rebuilding plan by Flxible that is preserved. This coach ran in Cincinnati until our Museum acquired it. Of course there is our restored CTS coach 641 which is a 1959 GM TDH5301 which is the oldest surviving example of the famous New Look design. Another interesting coach that has history is our 1937 ACF Sightseer coach. This coach was used as part of the 1952 Eisenhower Presidential campaign. Lastly, we also have a sightseer bus that was custom built from a combination of a 1942 Twin Coach and a GMC Fishbowl.
Q: How can I help?
A: Join the Ohio Museum of Transportation. We realize not everyone can afford to donate money and we encourage and value the donation of time more than anything. Of course donations will help us pay the bills and your membership in our group will help with that but we need people to help with the various projects and behind the scenes operations of our Museum just as much. Without the volunteer help we receive in maintaining the coaches (driving, mechanical and body work, cleaning, etc.) and helping with behind the scenes (negotiating, following up leads on buses, parts, information, etc.) our collection would be pointless.
Q: My personal information is safe isn't it?
A: Yes. We use no programs or coding in the pages to find out your E-mail address or any other information about you. All we will know is someone looked at the pages in our site but we will have no information as to who looked at them. In addition your name or E-mail address will not be added to any mailing list by sending us mail at any of our Museum addresses.
In addition, any orders done through our Museum Store are done through our secure server. Your information is safe by using this method. We strongly discourage ordering from us through unsecured methods such as E-mail and recommend using the secure server or US Mail.
Please see our privacy statement for more information.
Q: What if I can't find the answer to my question here?
A: Contact us at email@example.com and we'll do what we can to answer it.
Page Updated on April 15, 2007