New York City Fire Museum

New York City Fire Museum

Visitors to New York City can experience one of the most interesting museums in the city with a visit to the New York City Fire Museum. Located in a renovated 1904 firehouse, built in the Beaux Art style in the Soho district of the city, the fire museum houses one of the country’s best collection of fire and fire fighting related artifacts – dating from the 18th century and until present day. From amazing exhibits such as pre-Civil war hand pumped fire engines, to a September 11 memorial, a visit to the New York City Fire Museum is sure to be a fascinating experience for everyone.

What's to See and Do?

The New York City Fire Museum has much to offer its visitors. Some of the most popular exhibits and collections include the following:

Various artifacts
Visitors can see a number of interesting exhibits, including lanterns and tools used by fire fighters in years gone by, painted leather buckets and parade hats. Also in the exhibit are a number of early rescue gear items, speaking trumpets, uniform parts including insignia, alarm boxes and a horse-drawn ladder wagon.

The Farnham Engine
Dating back to the end of the 18th century, this is considered the oldest fire engine in America. Visitors can view this immaculate engine, complete with two arms that pump up and down.

Various other engines
The museum houses several stunning examples of hand-pumped and hand-drawn engines through the ages, from an engine in the style of a piano box to a double-decker Philadelphia engine. The latter was also part of the original opening celebrations of the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

Four-wheeled hose reels
There are three of these engines that are exhibited in the museum, including the famous Astoria Hose Number 8 and the Steinway Hose Number 7.

Steam Fire Engines
Not many steam fire engines exist in the United States today, but from those that are left, several are housed in the New York City Fire Museum. One of the most glorious is the 1901 LaFrance steam engine, which served the Brooklyn area. Another is the gas-powered Van Blerk tractor dating from 1912.

The Parade Room
This room pays tribute to the wonderful pageantry and traditions of firefighting in years gone by.

Wall Coverings
The walls of the museum are covered with a remarkable collection of paintings, photographs and pictures related to firefighting in the city. Especially interesting is a map of modern day Manhattan that is laid over the original outlines of the island.

Contemporary Equipment
The fire-fighting field has undergone huge changes in the past few decades. As such, the museum has displayed some of the tools and clothing employed by modern day firefighters. Visitors can view tools used for rescue operations such as the ‘Jaws of Life’, as well as the actual uniforms used by professionals, displayed on mannequins.

9-11 Memorial
In the horrendous terror attacks on the World Trade Center buildings on September 11, 2001, the New York Fire Department was badly hit, losing many of its force members (343 in total) in incredible tales of bravery. The New York City Fire Museum houses a permanent memorial exhibit on its first floor in honor of all those who were injured or who perished in this tragedy.

Guided Tour
Groups of 20 or more can arrange a guided tour of the New York City Fire Museum. Real fire fighters lead the tour, making it authentic as well as extremely handy to gain first hand information about this fascinating profession. Visitors are first given an introduction to the museum, before being led to the apparatus room. On the first floor, visitors experience an interactive presentation on fire safety and prevention. An exciting part of this one-hour tour consists of a ‘visit’ to a mock apartment, equipped with everything to make the experience as realistic as possible, including black lights and ‘safe’ smoke. In this way, visitors learn to pinpoint potential fire hazards.

Hell’s Hundred Acres Walk
Hell’s Hundred Acre is an area in New York City that is infamous for the many deaths of civilians and firefighters in the city’s history, due to fires. Former FDNY personnel lead visitors on a guided tour of the area that takes around four to five hours. Highlights of this fascinating tour include “The Finest Firehouse in the World” (Engine 31), five high fire areas, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ground Zero and the 911 museum. A minimum amount of ten people can make up this tour and all proceeds of the walk go towards the New York City Fire Museum.

The Store
The museum has a popular store where visitors can stop off to purchase some wonderfully classic FDNY memorabilia. There are also a number of collectibles – unique to the museum – as well as toys, pins and other items. Online shopping is also available.

For those who are looking for a location for a special event, the New York City Fire Museum can be rented out to make the perfect setting. Over 3000 feet of space are available for wedding receptions, birthday parties and others.

Visiting New York City Fire Museum

The New York City Fire Museum is easily accessibly via public transportation and is open in the week and on weekends too. Visitors are urged to contact the museum about possible seasonal changes to its opening hours. It is also handicap accessible. Free parking is available in the front of the museum for the benefit of visitors who visit by car.

Visitors of all ages find the museum appealing. Children love the huge machinery and fire trucks, and benefit from the educational aspect of the visit. Adults get a taste of what firefighters had to endure from colonial times until the present day and enjoy learning about New York’s history from an interesting perspective. The New York City Fire Museum is more than just a display of artifacts and apparatus. It embodies the brave spirit of the Fire Department of New York and the people who made this department one of the finest in the world.

Location: at 278 Spring Street between Varick and Hudson Streets in Manhattan’s Soho district.
Phone: 212-691-1303

Click here to visit New York City Fire Museum official website