Does your kid have a burning desire to learn all about the FDNY? The New York City Fire Museum is the official museum of the Fire Department of the City of New York and has everything you need to learn about the evolution of firefighting from its beginnings to today.
Housed in the former quarters of Engine Company No. 30, the museum is a tribute to firefighting and takes you through the history of techniques, equipment, and more. Upon entering, visitors are greeted by a fire truck that is fun for the kids to climb on, and perfect for a photo op.
The museum has five permanent exhibitions. Firefighting on Parade displays the beautifully crafted machines and artifacts used by volunteer firefighters who marched in the firefighter parades. Paintings and illustrations depicting volunteer firefighters at work are shown in Romance of Firefighting, which honors the venerable New Yorkers who risk their lives to keep our city safe.
This 1912 American-LaFrance Tractor-Steamer, a coal-fired steam engine drawn by a gasoline powered front-drive tractor, was dubbed “Old 93” upon its retirement in 1933 when it was then used as a parade vehicle.
In the Fire Apparatus display, you can check out the evolution of the fire engine from the steam engine to the motorized apparatus. Equipment displayed includes a horse drawn 1902 LaFrance steam engine, the first modern fire engine. A crowd favorite is Tools and Uniforms, which shows how significantly firefighting gear has changed throughout the last 30 years. From breathing masks to protective garments, the variations from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s are all on display in this exhibit along with the tools and equipment firefighters have been using for decades.
The 9/11 Memorial Room is the first permanent memorial recognizing the 343 members of the FDNY who sacrificed their lives on Sept. 11. The exhibit includes a black marble and tile memorial containing pictures of the firefighters who lost their lives, cases displaying tools used and items recovered, and an interactive computer station at which visitors can browse profiles of the fallen.
This permanent memorial to the 343 firefighters lost on 9/11 was designed by Jude Amsel and is made of tiles with the names and images of each firefighter.
Fire Safety Education Program
In collaboration with the FDNY, the museum operates a fire safety education program, which teaches participants about fire prevention in their homes and how to escape from a fire. There is classroom training followed by a simulated fire in a fake home environment. The simulation consists of a tour through each room and explanation of each fire hazard. The room is then filled with theatrical smoke and a firefighter teaches the children how to escape the room.
On Sept. 11, the NYC Fire Museum will hold a 9/11 Memorial ceremony at 1pm. The service will be lead by a NYFD commissioner and there will be songs and a speech made by the museum director.
Come watch FDNY chefs battle it out in the NYC Fire Museum cook-off for the coveted title of Best FDNY Chef, typically held in November. It’s a night filled with food, raffle prizes, and fun, and 100 percent of the proceeds go straight to the support of fire safety education program expansion.
Framed documents and works of art illustrate firefighting in the volunteer period in the Romance of Firefighting exhibit.
Tips for Visiting
- The gift shop has FDNY memorabilia and is open during museum hours. You can visit the gift shop free of charge if you do not wish to go into the museum
- Retired Volunteer Firefighter docents are available for questions and personal insight during morning and early afternoon hours.
- There are parking lots adjacent to the museum but they are not affiliated with the museum.
- Baby strollers are allowed in the museum, and it is also wheelchair accessible.
- Food and drink are not permitted.
Want to go?
Location: 278 Spring St., Hudson Square
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
Prices: $8; $5 students, seniors, and children ages 2-12; free with ID: FDNY, NYPD, DSNY, PANYNJ, Active U.S. Military service members, and Merchant Marine
For more information: nycfiremuseum.org or 212-352-3117
Main image: The New York City Fire Museum is housed in the former quarters of Engine Company No. 30, a 1904 Beaux-Arts firehouse.
All photos courtesy New York City Fire Museum
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