OverviewEditThe New York City Fire Museum is located in the former quarters of New York City Fire Department Engine 30, a renovated 1904 fire station in the neighborhood of SoHo in New York City. The museum cares for over 10,000 artifacts celebrating the history of firefighting and the New York City Fire Department. Examples of modern day firefighting equipment are also on permanent display at the museum as well as a permanent memorial to the 343 members of New York City Fire Department / Emergency Medical Services lost at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
About the MuseumEdit
The FDNY's original museum opened as the NYC Fire College in Long Island City in 1934. In 1959, the collection was moved to the spare bay of a working firehouse at 100 Duane Street in Manhattan, where it remained until the Home Insurance Company presented its own extensive collection of fire memorabilia to the city in 1981, making a move to a larger space imperative. A new non-profit, The Friends of the New York City Fire Department Collection, was created to raise funds to renovate the former quarters of Engine Company No. 30, a 1904 Beaux-Arts firehouse on Spring Street, and in 1987, the New York City Fire Museum opened its doors.
Displays illustrate the evolution of firefighting from the bucket brigades of Peter Stuyvesant 's New Amsterdam through the colorful history of volunteer firefighters to modern firefighting techniques and equipment. The Museum also houses a special memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who made the Supreme Sacrifice on 9/11 and features a number of firefighting artifacts recovered from the World Trade Center site. A video room and a mock apartment with an artificial smoke machine and black-lighted fire hazards are used in the museum's fire education program for school children ages K through 12.
The New York City Fire Museum attracts 40,000 visitors a year from all over America and almost every country in the world. Retired FDNY firefighters proudly volunteer to relate stories of New York City's "Bravest" and with the help of the Museum's stunning collection, tell how they got to be that way.
One of the most interesting stories, not told elsewhere in the City, is that of the early days of fire fighting in New York. The museum is privileged to house much of the City's collection of historic firefighting artifacts, memorabilia and equipment dating from as early as the 1650s. Together our collection of documents, firefighting apparatus, fire marks, buckets, trumpets, helmets, rattles, lanterns, uniforms and other artifacts tell a powerful story of early New York, the challenges faced by our ancestors and their ingenuity and skill in preventing and controlling fires in a setting and conditions difficult to imagine today.
- Firefighting on Parade : Parades were a popular form of public entertainment and, beginning with the July 4th celebration of 1824, volunteer firemen's anticipation became particularly prominent. Each volunteer fire company took great pride in the festive appearance of its banners, machines and uniforms. This exhibit features four apparatus in parade formation and the beautifully decked out Steinway hose carriage. The elegant machines are surrounded by celebratory artifacts, including a Brooklyn volunteer fire department banner, paintings on wood panels that once adorned pumpers, decorative plaques used to embellish apparatus on parade, lanterns and torches that lit up parades, and ribbons, festive belts, hats and helmets worn by the marchers.
- Romance of Firefighting : Volunteer firemen protected the life and property of New Yorkers and were important members of the City. They had a tough job and were always at the ready. With no horses or motors, volunteer firemen depended on their muscle to pull apparatus to a fire. Volunteer companies were also social groups and members often visited one another to show off their apparatus and uniforms. Volunteers fighting fires and partaking in social events are depicted in the paintings and illustrations displayed on the Museum’s second floor. These pieces are works of art as well as documentation of the “romance of firefighting.”
- Fire Apparatus : The FDNY's transition to the gasoline combustion engine was slow and cautious. The steam engine was a well-developed and proven technology. The Department was not willing to completely risk the safety of the City on relatively new technology so they experimented with gasoline engines, which proved their effectiveness and caused the FDNY to gradually phase out horse drawn apparatus. Visitors to the Fire Museum can see this transition from steam to motorized apparatus on our first floor. Not only do we have the beautiful horse drawn 1901 LaFrance steam engine, which saw service in Brooklyn, but we have a 1912 steamer with a gasoline powered Van Blerck tractor, and a 1921 American LaFrance gasoline powered pumper.
- Tools and Uniforms : The evolution of New York City firefighters' gear over 30 years is displayed using mannequins on our first floor. These mannequins are dressed with the protective outer garments and breathing apparatus used by firefighters in the 1970's, 80's and 90's. All three represent members of truck companies, and are surrounded by some of the forcible entry tools and rescue equipment they would use on the job, including the versatile Halligan tool. Dramatic differences can be seen in the transition from the turnout coat of the 1970's to the bunker gear of today, while the basic form of the firefighter's helmet has remained relatively unchanged. This exhibit allows visitors to compare firefighting today to what it was like a century or more ago.
- 9/11 Memorial : The New York City Fire Museum contains the first permanent memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Housed in two adjoining rooms, this solemn sky-lit tribute to the heroes of 9/11 includes a black marble and tile memorial with pictures of the firefighters lost in the attacks; cases displaying tools used and items recovered from the Ground Zero recovery effort; a video and interactive computer station where visitors can digitally browse profiles and photographs of the fallen, newspaper coverage of the attacks, and images of nationwide tributes to the FDNY; and a wall-size timeline chronicling that day's tragic events.
- Halligan Tool Case : The Halligan tool is one of the most versatile and well-known forcible entry tools used by firefighters. The Halligan is unique because, unlike many other tools in the fire service, it was designed specifically for firefighting and made by a firefighter, Chief Hugh Halligan. The forcible entry tools displayed in this case show the development of the Halligan tool. The Halligan'™s predecessors, the Claw and Kelly tools, each had functions necessary for forcible entry, which Chief Halligan combined to make his tool. Two others, the Ziamatic and Pro-Bar tools, are versions of the Halligan used in the fire service today. The original Halligan is no longer produced, but these tools use the original design, with a few modifications.
- Remembering Their Prayers : Susan Harris is a descendant of Max Blanck, one of the co-owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company . The Blanck family had quite a few relatives die in the fire that tragic day and Susan felt a deep calling to make something that would bridge the gap of pain and time and connect her family to the other victims’ families. In 2008, she began collecting Edwardian shirtwaist fabrics and handkerchiefs from all over the country. Susan put together a small group of neighbors to help her embroider the names of all of the victims onto these delicate fabrics. Many names are also sewn by the victims’ descendants. Hung on a clothesline in a manner similar to Tibetan prayer flags , the piece is now 152 feet long.
See also Edit
- New York City Fire Museum Accessibility
- New York City Fire Museum Collaboration
- New York City Fire Museum Education and Social Media
- New York City Fire Museum Future IT
- New York City Fire Museum Interactions and Development
- New York City Fire Museum Presentation
- New York City Fire Museum Usability
- New York City Fire Museum Visit