Vehicles for the movement of people and goods form the core of the State Museum's transportation collection. The physical size of ships, aircraft and railroad rolling stock would suggest that such objects are not to be found in the Museum. But in fact, an airplane, a subway car and a number of boats are counted among the Museum's holdings.
The airplane is a Fleet Model 8 of 1931, a biplane which served as the State Conservation Department's first aircraft; it now is a permanent fixture in the Museum's Adirondack Hall. A second relic of flight, which approaches full aircraft size, is a Link pilot trainer of the Second World War period.
The rail vehicles are an interurban car, first used on the New York Railways Little Falls to Rome division in the 1910's and 1920's and last used on the Rochester Subway in 1956. The subway car is a 1940's New York City R-9 model, which plays a key role in the Museum's New York Metropolis exhibit.
Other rail materials include a Fairmont section car, a rowed speeder, signals, rails, lamps, tools and ephemera such as timetables and posters. A recent notable addition to the Museum is the collection of Robert Bedford of Johnstown, who for fifty years accumulated artifacts of traction railways, especially the Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville.
The 27 boats in the Museum consist of rowed, sailed and motor types, including Adirondack guide boats, St. Lawrence skiffs, a sandbagger on permanent display, ice boats and luxury motor craft of the early twentieth century like a Henderson built at Lake George. Other pieces of the water transportation collections include ship models, motors, navigational instruments, channel markers and graphics.
Horse drawn vehicles number about 40. These date from the late eighteenth century to the practical end of animal powered transportation in the early twentieth century. In addition to carriages and wagons, there are specialty vehicles such as a sprinkler cart, dump wagon and tin peddler's wagon. Among the outstanding vehicles are a late-nineteenth century delivery wagon with splendid original painted decoration, a fine hearse with glazed sides, and an eighteenth century cutter with fine painted cornucopia decoration.
Human powered vehicles include baby carriages; hand pushed trucks like wheel barrows and peddler's carts; and bicycles. The 25 cycles range from a boneshaker of the late 1860's to an example of a home-built racing bicycle of the 1970's.
vehicles at the State Museum run from several experimental
automobiles built ca. 1900 by the Albany inventor Christian
Weeber to the 1967 Lincoln governors' limousine. Landmarks
include the 1932 Packard touring car purchased for official use
by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, a rocket powered experimental
car built by the brothers Daniel and Floyd Hungerford in Elmira
in the 1920's, and a drag racing car constructed by Nathan Hughes
of Corning in the 1950's. In addition to automobiles, there are
several new York-built trucks (including an example of one of the
last, a 1976 Brockway dump truck), the first motor ambulance used
in the Adirondack Park, a self-propelled crane made in Brooklyn