New York City Fire Museum | History of New York Firefighters

by Denise Marie

The New York City Fire Museum is New York City’s illustrations of an amazing collection of fire related artifacts, fire engines and other gear dating back to the 18th century. Located at 278 Spring Street west of Soho, the museum is open daily to accommodate visitors locally and from all around the world.

The museum’s mission is to display the courage and cultural heritage of firefighters throughout history to present. The apparatus is in its original design to mesmerize the 40,000 plus visitors yearly. Retired firefighters volunteer to tell stories and to stimulate the collection of the bravest people in the world.

Many exhibits such as Fire Fighting Parade, 09/11Memorial, Romancing Firefighting, Fire Apparatus and Tools and Uniforms are always on display in this renovated firehouse that was first built in 1904 and later redone in a Beaux Art style design.

History of New York Firefighters
The history and heritage of the New York Fire Department is an interesting one. New York firefighters began volunteering their services back in the 1800’s dragging their hose wagons and pumpers to fires. The growing city was created in the volunteer era from courageous men and women risking their lives to save others. Volunteers were expected to create bucket brigades before fire engines were used.

The 19th century is when hoses were introduced which meant decreasing the use of fire buckets. The gear then was ladders, hooks, hose reels, trucks and hand pumpers. It wasn’t until 1865 when horse drawn gear was introduced minimizing the amount of manpower needed to fight the fires.

The Colonial Period was from 1648-1783 that started the era of organized firefighting with the Dutch settlement and the Post Revolution was 1786 until 1865. After the Revolutionary War was finished the volunteer department immersed its reputation and size.

Click to book your New York CityPass

Education and Museum Shop
The museum provides an extensive fire safety education course that is designed to teach visitors fire prevention, safety and how to protect themselves against a dangerous life situation. The program is delivered in two parts. The first one is classroom training where students watch a video pertaining to burn prevention and fire safety. The second part of the class is led by a New York City firefighter that reinforces safety precautions as seen in the video and teaches students real live mocks in an apartment.

The museum shop is a great place to purchase memorabilia that includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, firefighter patches, dvd’s and books. All proceeds support the museum to continue the ongoing education of fire protection.

Visiting the Museum
The museum is open on weekdays and weekends. All visitors are welcome of all ages and is encouraged to visit the museum at least once for the extensive education it provides on the history of our heroes. The museum is handicap accessible and free parking is available for visitors arriving by car. There are many downtown attractions close by that includes World Trade Center, New York City’s Police Museum, Tribute WTC Visitor Center and Lower East Side Tenement Museum.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *