The New York City Fire Museum is one of the most popular museums in this city. It is the perfect place to relive the drama and excitement of the years gone by and see how it is our brave firemen protected Manhattan with, what might seem to us, strange yet ingenious-looking contraptions.
Appropriately so, the museum is located in an old Beaux-arts-style firehouse that was built in 1904. This building was converted into a museum just a little over a decade ago. This beautiful building sets the mood for what you are about to see in it with its old-style stone arches and pale red brick walls.
Each and every display in the museum is a salute to the brave firefighters of the New York Fire Department and their more than two centuries of dedication toward keeping the city and its inhabitants safe. Sepia photographs of fire companies of the early-20th century, the 1890’s horse-drawn buggy belonging to the department chief; fire engines looking glorious in their “fiery” red hue, the canine mascot of Engine Company 203′sthat was stuffed after it died in 1939; hoses, uniforms, hydrants, helmets, and hand-held tools…all these exhibits are as fascinating and romantic as they are educating.
Several permanent exhibitions occupy most of the New York City Fire Museum. The Firefighting on Parade focuses on the history of parades that have been led by firefighters in New York City since the early 19th century.
Authentic plaques, banners, badges, lighting, and other decorative items are on display in this gallery. A vintage Steinway hose carriage is one of the highlights of this permanent exhibit. The Romance of Firefighting honors the brave individuals who passionately volunteered to keep NYC’s streets safe from blazes. Certificates, paintings, and sculptures shed some light on some of the city’s earliest firefighters.
The first-floor gallery includes an array of classic vehicles, steam engines, and other equipment from numerous eras. For example, this exhibit features a coal-powered La France engine from 1901. Primarily made of wood, a Farnam pumper from the 19th century will surely impress visitors as well.
At the Tools and Uniforms exhibit, the evolution of firefighting equipment takes center stage. Stokes baskets, roof saws, iron axes, and Draeger smoke helmets are some of the items that can be seen in this section of the museum.
In addition to exploring all the fascinating items here, you can also participate in the Fire Safety Education Program – one of the most highly acclaimed programs of the museum. Every year this program teaches thousands of children essential life skills, such as the important fire safety rules, how to help prevent fires, and what to do in case they find themselves caught in one. Both families, as well as school groups, can participate in this program.
The 9/11 Memorial Room pays tribute to 343 fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during the attacks on the World Trade Centers on 09/11/2001. The poignant exhibit includes tools and artifacts that have been recovered from the ruins of the destructed towers. Additionally, the 9/11 Memorial Room examines the regional and global effects of the terrorist attacks.
A poignant reminder of the tragedy that the US faced in recent times is the September 11 Memorial. It is housed in two adjoining rooms and pays a tribute to the heroes of 9/11. Exhibits include a black marble memorial with pictures of firefighters who lost their lives in the attacks; a WTC Memorial Statue donated by Ironworkers’ Local 40; tools such as shovels and garden spades used in the recovery effort displayed in a glass case; an interactive computer station that allows you to browse newspaper coverage of the attacks, photographs of the fallen firemen, and pictures of nationwide tributes to the FDNY; and a wall-size timeline that chronicles the dramatic events of the day.
Visiting New York City Fire Museum
Situated in the heart of Lower Manhattan, the New York City Fire Museum is conveniently accessible from all major points of the borough. Served by the busy 1, 6, C, and E lines of the New York City subway system, the Spring Street station is located within two blocks of the museum.
Additional train service is available at the nearby Houston Street and Canal Street stop. All of these underground stations essentially link the neighborhood with the rest of NYC. The narrow, historic roads that surround the museum also get plenty of bus service by MTA buses.
Additionally, promenades along the eastern banks of the scenic Hudson River are just a short walk from the New York City Fire Museum. There are numerous eateries throughout the area within walking distance of the museum.
- Address: 278 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013
- Phone: 212-691-1303
- Website: www.nycfiremuseum.org
- Hours of Operation: Tuesdays through Saturdays – 10 am to 5 pm; Sundays 10 am to 4 pm. Closed on Mondays and major holidays (Easter Sunday, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, New Year’s Day)
- Admission Prices: Adults – $7; Seniors, Students, and Children – $5
- Guided historical tours for groups of 20 or more – $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under
Click here to visit New York City Fire Museum official website.