How did the museum acquire the bus?
September 2001, an article in the Wall Street Journal announced
that the Rosa Parks bus would be available in an Internet auction
Museum staff began researching this opportunity. They spoke to
people involved in the original 1955 events, to those who planned
other museum exhibits, and to historians. A forensic document examiner
was hired to see if the scrapbook was authentic. A museum conservator
went to Montgomery to personally examine the bus. Convinced that
this was the Rosa Parks bus, the Museum's leadership decided to
bid on the bus in the Internet auction.
museum entered the auction of October 25, 2001, and was the high
bidder at $427,919. The other final bidders for the bus, both of
whom were convinced of its authenticity, were the Smithsonian Institution
and the city of Denver, Colorado.
At the same time, the Museum successfully bid on the Montgomery
City Bus Lines scrapbook of newspaper articles with the Rosa Parks
bus identified in two places. It also purchased a Montgomery City
bus driver's uniform offered for sale by a retired employee who
had started working for the company in 1954.