NYC Museums: Fire Department Museum
November 27, 2013
The Long Island Fire Dep. has a proud and exalted history of saving lives and keeping New Yorkers safe, and the New York City Fire Museum celebrates that history. The location calls to mind early 20th century New York at the boom time of its success, when fast growth and meteoric rise in the immigrant population made firefighting more important than ever before. The New York Fire Department Museum looks specifically at firefighting and how it has developed through the years to what it’s become today. From hand painted leather belts and buckets to boots and helmets and even old style hardware, the Museum of the FDNY has everything you could possibly want to determine if
you’ve got an interest in how the FDNY has changed and evolved over time. If you’re at all fascinated by the golden era or the history of firefighters, you can stop by the New York City Fire Museum.
The Fire Museum is situated on the western edge of the hip Soho neighborhood in Manhattan, at 278 Spring Street near Varick and Hudson. This hip neighborhood is more well known as a locale for cafes and shopping boutiques than as a hot spot for museums in Manhattan, but if you’re out having a shopping day and desire to split up the monotony with some history of NYC firefighting, all you have to do is go west on Spring Street and you will find the museum. The neighborhood is quite easy to get to, as it’s a major shopping center for people from all around the city, and a range of buses and trains service both the Houston and Spring St. stations nearby.
The biggest draw of the New York City Fire Museum is the variety of authentic firefighting items, clothing, and trucks from as far in the past as the 18th century. These items includeaxes, lanterns, leather buckets, helmets and one of the first fire engines ever built, the 1790 “Farnam” engine. Rescue and breathing equipment from the early 1900s is also on show, which gives a sense for just how perilous fires were before the appearance of modern firefighting equipment. The development of firefighting is told at the Museum of the FDNY, offering visitors the opportunity to understand what the life of a NYC firefighter was like and how it has evolved through the years.
In addition, a popular program for children held by the New York City Fire Museum encompasses the history of firefighting with useful tips to know in the in case of a fire. This guided tour of the museum is offered by a retired New York City firefighter who can supplement the data in the museum with real experiences from his life fighting fires as the technology has changed. Youngsters are also trained on the right procedures to follow in a mock fire event. A flat is set up to look as it'd if there were a fire, and youngsters learn where to go, what to do and what not to do. Fire hazards are indicated, and escape techniques are practiced.