New York City Fire Museum

New York City Fire Museum This renovated 1904 firehouse contains a comprehensive collection of fire-related art & artifacts from 18th century to the present. Visitors explore firefighting history from buckets to motorized apparatus, from a volunteer to professional service.
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The New York City Fire Museum is the official museum of the FDNY and houses one of the nation's most prominent collections of fire related art and artifacts from the 18th Century to the present. Among its holdings are painted leather buckets, helmets, parade hats and belts, lanterns and tools, Volunteer-era hand pumped fire engines, horse drawn vehicles and early motorized apparatus. Admission is $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for children, seniors and college students; Admission is free for active FDNY, NYPD, DSNY and NYNJPA members.

Operating as usual

Flashback Friday - FDNY is replete with legends.  In keeping with honoring Black History this month, we bring back the s...
02/12/2021

Flashback Friday - FDNY is replete with legends. In keeping with honoring Black History this month, we bring back the story of Molly Williams. Molly was introduced to us in the 1882 book, “The Story of the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York” written by George Sheldon. The NYC Fire Museum gets frequent inquiries about Molly but we have nothing more than what Sheldon tells us in his book. He says that Molly was a slave of the Aymar family and that in 1818, in the midst of a blizzard, she helped pull Engine Company 11’s pumper through the snow to a fire on William Street and that she remained closely tied to that company.

Recent research has called into question some of the details of this story, but it is however based in fact. What has been uncovered is Molly’s incredible life story that includes her husband Peter, their son Peter, Jr., their granddaughter Amy and a long line of descendants that were fervent abolitionists and clergymembers.

Molly’s story is yet another that points to the voluminous number of individuals that have worked with or for the FDNY in service to the citizens of New York, often without being appreciated or acknowledged. Thank you, Molly!!!

To celebrate Black History Month, today’s Flashback Friday honors Wesley Augustus Williams.  Williams, who joined the de...
02/05/2021

To celebrate Black History Month, today’s Flashback Friday honors Wesley Augustus Williams. Williams, who joined the department in 1919, was the first African American to be promoted to officer and a founding member of the Vulcan Society. Promoted to Lieutenant in 1927, Williams retired as a Battalion Chief in 1952. The Department bestows the Chief Wesley Williams Medal for Valor every two years at its Medal Day Ceremony. Williams passed away in 1984 at the age of 86, but left a lasting legacy as a pioneer in the FDNY and the city he served.

The Vulcan Society was established in 1940. It is the fraternal organization of Black firefighters and is open to both uniformed and civilian personnel. The website for the organization (www.vulcansocietyfdny.org) describes their mission beautifully: “The Society has always been committed to the fight for equality and fairness in the New York City Fire Department with only one objective in mind: to help make the best fire department in the world better!”

The most recent recipient of the prestigious Chief Wesley Williams Medal is Firefighter Edwin Rodriguez of Ladder 138 for his rescue of an unconscious man at a fire in the Corona section of Queens on July 29, 2019.

Are you an #FDNY history buff? Don’t forget to listen to our latest Throwback FDNY Podcast on Apple, Spotify and elsewhe...
02/04/2021

Are you an #FDNY history buff? Don’t forget to listen to our latest Throwback FDNY Podcast on Apple, Spotify and elsewhere...

Today’s FDNY Throwback Thursday photo is from this day in 1970 – a 2-alarm fire at 7th Avenue and 2nd Street in Brooklyn. See more photos at bit.ly/3rik29X

Learn more about FDNY history with the New York City Fire Museum Throwback FDNY Podcast, now available on Apple, Spotify and Google Play. Sign up for the Museum's companion Throwback FDNY newsletter, at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

02/04/2021

NEW podcast episode is up!

The First Known Black Woman Firefighter Answers the Call in 1818, Trailblazing African-Americans Make Inroads into the Fire Service Starting in 1898, and Robert O. Lowery’s Historic Appointment to Fire Commissioner in 1966.

Listen to this Black History Month episode wherever you get your podcasts. Also, sign up for our companion Throwback FDNY newsletter at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

The Throwback FDNY Podcast is presented by the New York City Fire Museum with support from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the FDNY Foundation.

Flashback Friday - At the present time, there are several projects going on under our feet here in Manhattan.  We have t...
01/29/2021

Flashback Friday - At the present time, there are several projects going on under our feet here in Manhattan. We have the Second Avenue Subway project, the Long Island Railroad Grand Central Terminal project, to name a few. Back in 1902, when the subway system was first being constructed there was one incident that rocked the city to its core…literally.

On January 27, an explosion occurred in a section of the subway line at Park Avenue and Forty-first Street. Two tons of dynamite, used to excavate what would become the subway tubes, exploded. Eight people were killed, a surprisingly low number for a mid-day disaster, and two hotels were destroyed.

A young man witnessed the explosion and sent his mother in Germany a postcard. He wrote:

New York Firemen

318 East 35th Street, New York– 27-1-02

Dear Mother,

Right across the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, an underground station is under construction. At 12 o’clock there was a terrible dynamite explosion and all the fire brigades and emergencies from New York rushed here. Up till now at least 200 dead and wounded were found. The windows of the houses miles away got all broken. Gustave"

Are you an #FDNY history buff? Don’t forget to listen to our latest Throwback FDNY Podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, an...
01/28/2021

Are you an #FDNY history buff? Don’t forget to listen to our latest Throwback FDNY Podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play!

Today’s FDNY Throwback Thursday photo is from this day in 1966 – a 3-alarm fire at West 51st Street and 12th Avenue in Manhattan. See more photos at bit.ly/2YgnJRf

Learn more about FDNY history with the New York City Fire Museum Throwback FDNY Podcast, now available on Apple, Spotify and Google Play. Sign up for the Museum's companion Throwback FDNY newsletter, at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

01/28/2021

In Episode 8 of The Throwback FDNY Podcast... the 1870 Appointment of Thomas “Never Lose a Man” Nevins to Brooklyn’s Chief of Department, the 1916 Bombing of Black Tom Island by Saboteurs, and the 1960 Park Slope and Staten Island Plane Crashes. #FDNY history buffs can find the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play. Also, sign up for the Museum’s companion Throwback FDNY newsletter at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

NYC Fire Museum will appear once again on Operation 7 Save-a-Life.  Make sure to tune in this Saturday for a great show ...
01/26/2021
Operation 7: Save a Life - January 30th only on ABC7NY

NYC Fire Museum will appear once again on Operation 7 Save-a-Life. Make sure to tune in this Saturday for a great show with valuable, life-saving information.

https://abc7ny.com/fire-safety-carbon-monoxide-first-responders-operation-7-save-a-life/9568045/

Bill Ritter hosts our annual WABC-TV special, "Operation 7: Save a Life," to highlight the importance of fire safety, protecting firefighters and protecting you and your loved ones.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of what has become known in the FDNY as Black Sunday.  On January 23rd, 2005, three members ...
01/22/2021

Tomorrow is the anniversary of what has become known in the FDNY as Black Sunday. On January 23rd, 2005, three members of the department were killed and four injured in two separate incidents, with one dying six years later as a result of his injuries. This was the first time since 1918 that members had been killed in separate incidents in New York City.

The first fire broke out at 7:59 AM on East 178th Street in the Bronx in a 4-story apartment building. Unbeknownst to the responding members, apartments had been illegally partitioned. While searching for victims on the 4th floor, the floor above the apartment where the fire had started, members became trapped as the flames intensified. Due to the illegal partitioning, they were unable to reach a fire escape, forcing six to jump from the windows. Lt. Curtis Meyran of Battalion 26 and Lt. John Bellew of Ladder 27 were killed that day, and Lt. Joseph DiBernardo of Rescue 3 died November 22, 2011 as a result of the injuries he sustained. Severely injured were Firefighters Jeffrey Cool and Eugene Stolowski, who retired as a result.

The second fire broke out in the East New York section of Brooklyn at 1:37 PM in a private dwelling. Ladder 103 was tasked to search the basement using an interior staircase. Firefighter Richard Sclafani became separated from his company, and was located minutes later, unconscious on the stairs. He succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

The New York City Fire Museum, with its mission to collect, preserve, and present the history and cultural heritage of the FDNY, will never forget those who have made the supreme sacrifice while protecting our city and its residents.

Are you an #FDNY history buff? Don’t forget to listen to our latest Throwback FDNY Podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, an...
01/21/2021

Are you an #FDNY history buff? Don’t forget to listen to our latest Throwback FDNY Podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play!

Today’s FDNY Throwback Thursday photo is from this day in 1965 – a 4-alarm fire at 3446 Boston Road in the Bronx. See more photos at bit.ly/2XXZBTm

Learn more about FDNY history with the New York City Fire Museum Throwback FDNY Podcast, now available on Apple, Spotify and Google Play. Sign up for the Museum's companion Throwback FDNY newsletter, at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

#ThrowbackThursday to #FDNY’s short-lived Radiological Unit. Learn more in Episode 7 of our Throwback FDNY Podcast avail...
01/21/2021

#ThrowbackThursday to #FDNY’s short-lived Radiological Unit. Learn more in Episode 7 of our Throwback FDNY Podcast available NOW on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play. Also, sign up for the Museum’s companion Throwback FDNY newsletter at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

01/20/2021
Amazon Smile Info

As you all know by now, the NYC Fire Museum has been severely impacted by the pandemic, as have most cultural institutions. We thank all of you that have already responded to our appeal for donations to keep us going. If you would like to make a donation, see the link above to do so.

Did you know you can make additional contributions without it costing you anything? All you have to do is select the NYC Fire Museum as the charity you would like to support on Amazon Smile. We will get a donation for every purchase you make on www.Smile.Amazon.com!!

Alyssa Borger of our staff has prepared a brief video to show you how to set it up. Again, thank you all for your continued support!!

Flashback Friday – What do targets, or target companies, have to do with the fire service?  Well, a lot actually.  Back ...
01/15/2021

Flashback Friday – What do targets, or target companies, have to do with the fire service? Well, a lot actually. Back in the early days of volunteer fire companies, in fact, right up to today throughout the fire service, there have been social organizations formed to enhance the camaraderie of members. As early as the 1850’s fire companies in New York City hosted clubs unrelated to firefighting, one of which were target companies.

Apparently, these were formed along the lines of military organizations. While they may have been drill teams as we think of them today, a component of their activities was, as their name implies, shooting. They would take excursions from “the city” out to “the country” for their meets. According to Augustine Costello in his landmark book, Our Firemen, Black Joke Engine 33 was the first to organize such an outing. Their target company was named, Black Joke Volunteers.

The New York City Fire Museum has one artifact that may have been something used for “target practice.” It is from the Neptune Steam Fire Engine Company No. 2 of the Paterson New Jersey Fire Department. It is a souvenir from the last outing held as a volunteer company, as the department transitioned to being a paid organization. That excursion took them to Kearny, New Jersey. As seem, it is riddled with bullet holes!!!

The artifact is displayed in the Museum’s second-floor gallery.

#ThrowbackThursday to the tenure of Chief of Department John Kenlon beginning in 1911, a storied career that started at ...
01/14/2021

#ThrowbackThursday to the tenure of Chief of Department John Kenlon beginning in 1911, a storied career that started at sea and ended up in a NYC firehouse. Learn more in Episode 7 of our Throwback #FDNY Podcast available NOW on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play. Also, sign up for the Museum’s companion Throwback FDNY newsletter at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

Are you an #FDNY history buff? Don’t forget to listen to our latest Throwback FDNY Podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, an...
01/14/2021

Are you an #FDNY history buff? Don’t forget to listen to our latest Throwback FDNY Podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play!

Today’s FDNY Throwback Thursday photo is from this day in 1991 – a 5-alarm fire at 319 McKibbin Street in Brooklyn. See more photos at bit.ly/3snn8L5

Learn more about FDNY history with the New York City Fire Museum Throwback FDNY Podcast, now available on Apple, Spotify and Google Play. Sign up for the Museum's companion Throwback FDNY newsletter, at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

Today’s Flashback Friday highlights the Equitable Building fire, which took place on January 9th, 1912.  The building wa...
01/08/2021

Today’s Flashback Friday highlights the Equitable Building fire, which took place on January 9th, 1912. The building was located at 120 Broadway, and at seven stories tall was considered the first skyscraper in New York when it was constructed in 1870, and contained the first public elevators in the city.

The fire broke out when a lit match was mistakenly thrown in a garbage can in Café Savarin on the first floor. The first alarm was pulled at 5:34 AM, and firefighters arrived minutes later. By 6:00 AM most of Manhattan’s firefighters were at the scene, but the frigid temperatures and howling winds made the job difficult, as hoses froze and the men were covered in ice due to the shifting spray and needed to be relieved. For the first time since consolidation in 1898, Brooklyn firefighters were called to help with a Manhattan fire.

The fire was finally extinguished at 9:30 AM, and resulted in the loss of six lives, including Battalion Chief William Walsh. This fire, along with the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire the previous year, brought into focus the need for new laws governing building construction and safety.

The rescue of two men trapped in the basement of the building took a herculean effort given the iron bars on the windows, the freezing temperatures and the build up of ice. The experience prompted Chief Kenlon to research the establishment of a special squad of firefighters, with special training and equipment to handle such difficult situations. And, three years later, Rescue Company 1 was formed as a result.

The photos above come from the museum’s collection, and help to further our mission to Preserve, Educate, and Celebrate the history of the FDNY.

Are you a student of history? Don’t forget to listen to our Throwback FDNY Podcast on Apple, Spotify and Google Play.
01/07/2021

Are you a student of history? Don’t forget to listen to our Throwback FDNY Podcast on Apple, Spotify and Google Play.

Today’s FDNY Throwback Thursday photo is from this day in 1973 – a 4-alarm fire in Manhattan. See more photos at bit.ly/2JUZrIY

Learn more about FDNY history with the New York City Fire Museum Throwback FDNY Podcast, now available on Apple, Spotify and Google Play. Sign up for the Museum's companion Throwback FDNY newsletter, at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

#ThrowbackThursday to the infamous and deadly 1876 Brooklyn Theater fire, an incident that sent shockwaves around the wo...
01/07/2021

#ThrowbackThursday to the infamous and deadly 1876 Brooklyn Theater fire, an incident that sent shockwaves around the world. Learn more in Episode 7 of our Throwback #FDNY Podcast available NOW on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play. Also, sign up for the Museum’s companion Throwback FDNY newsletter at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

12/28/2020

In Episode 7 of the Throwback FDNY Podcast... the devastating Brooklyn Theatre Fire of 1876, the tenure of Chief of Department John Kenlon begins in 1911 and the 1957 formation of the Radiological Unit. #FDNY history buffs can find the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play. Also, sign up for the Museum’s companion Throwback FDNY newsletter at nycfiremuseum.org/throwbackfdny

Flashback Friday - On this Christmas Day, we wish to send joyous holiday greetings to all that are celebrating today, as...
12/25/2020

Flashback Friday - On this Christmas Day, we wish to send joyous holiday greetings to all that are celebrating today, as well as to others who celebrate other holidays during this season.

Shown here is the cover from the January 1955 issue of the Department’s magazine, WNYF. It shows Commissioner Edward Cavanagh (the subject of an earlier Flashback) and his family in an FDNY sleigh. Sleighs like this were used by FDNY Chiefs during the winter months, long before snow plowing was done in the City’s streets. They were, of course, horse-drawn as were the Chiefs’ other carriages. The "one-horse open sleigh" in this picture is in the collection of the New York City Fire Museum and is on display in our second-floor gallery. Please come by to see it.

It is with regret that we announce the passing of long time NYC Fire Museum Board member, Peter Micheels, PhD.  Peter wa...
12/23/2020
Membership and Donation | New York City Fire Museum | United States

It is with regret that we announce the passing of long time NYC Fire Museum Board member, Peter Micheels, PhD. Peter was passionate about the activities and history of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). He served on the Board of Trustees of the New York Fire Museum since 1996 and voted Trustee Emeritus on September 20, 2018. He was also designated an Honorary Deputy Chief by FDNY.

His first book, Braving the Flames, was published in 1989. “The author ‘captured words from the heart’ in this collection of stories and firsthand accounts of life in the FDNY from fifteen of New York’s Bravest.” (Literary Journal Review) Heat: the Fire Investigators and their War on Arson and Murder, published in 1991, described the work of FDNY fire marshals. “The little-known life of a fire marshal is part police detection and part forensic investigation. The vivid accounts in Heat takes readers to the scenes of our most horrifying crimes … Capturing the unmistakable voices of the Firehouse, the courtroom, and the street, Micheels takes you to the heat of the fire and gets to the heart of the crime.” (Amazon Review). In his third and final book the focus shifts to the work of NYPD detectives in The Detectives: Their Toughest Cases in Their Own Words.

In his professional career, Peter was a staff Psychologist at Bellevue Hospital Center for 41 years. He was married to Rosemarie McIntyre. Donations in memory of Peter Micheels may be made to the NYC Fire Museum (https://www.nycfiremuseum.org/donate) or the scholarship fund of the Fire Bell Club of NY (www.firebell.org)

Your membership and support is vital. The Museum is run by a private non-profit.

Address

278 Spring St
New York, NY
10013

1 train to Houston or Canal Streets; C or E to Spring Street

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Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 09:00 - 17:00

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(212) 691-1303

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