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

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

Operating as usual

Today’s Flashback Friday takes us back 75 years to June 25, 1946.  On that date, a massive 9 alarm fire erupted at the S...
06/25/2021

Today’s Flashback Friday takes us back 75 years to June 25, 1946. On that date, a massive 9 alarm fire erupted at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal on the borough’s St. George waterfront, causing both the loss of life and the overwhelming destruction of property
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The fire was first noticed at approximately 2:15 pm, as passengers on the arriving ferry Mary Murray noticed the first wisps of smoke. The boat thankfully did not dock as its passengers would have been subjected to what moments later was described as “a seething cauldron of flame.” In addition to the arriving ferry’s captain choosing not to dock, a departing ferry had just left, leaving the terminal virtually empty. Two other ferries idling in their slips had time to depart before the fast moving flames destroyed the terminal and slips.

The response to the blaze was overwhelming. Two United States Coast Guard vessels and five FDNY Marine units fought the blaze from the harbor, while land units raced to the scene from Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. The Verrazano Bridge hadn’t yet been built, so the Brooklyn units were loaded aboard ferries from that borough and sailed across the harbor, while the Manhattan units raced through the Holland Tunnel, through New Jersey and across the Bayonne Bridge to reach the scene. A total of 50 engine and ladder companies responded to fight the fire.

It is still unclear how the fire began, as conflicting eyewitnesses blamed both the Staten Island Rapid Transit (SIRT) tracks adjacent to the terminal, and a paint storage area beneath the tracks. The fire led to the complete destruction of the terminal, with service interrupted for four weeks.

Sadly the fire produced three civilian fatalities and over 280 injuries, mostly firefighters overcome by smoke. Thankfully, all recovered. Strangely, as the fire erupted, Department of Transportation officials were in a meeting at City Hall, presenting plans for an updated terminal on the site. An new terminal was completed in 1951.

06/24/2021

Congrats Chief! And, don’t miss this film! It’s a great one.

Proud to be hosting the FDNY Pride event once again.
06/24/2021

Proud to be hosting the FDNY Pride event once again.

Proud to be hosting the FDNY Pride event once again.

In an effort to raise funds to avoid the fate of a predicted one-third of our country’s cultural institutions slated to ...
06/22/2021

In an effort to raise funds to avoid the fate of a predicted one-third of our country’s cultural institutions slated to close for good, the New York City Fire Museum will be hosting a Golf Outing this Thursday June 24 at the beautiful Muttontown Club.

In addition to an exciting round of golf we are hosting a virtual auction. Click the link https://www.eventhubpro.com/69b7a5d7120a65 to register to bid on some amazing items including the helmet pictured below, Code 3 models, baseball game tickets, winery tour and much more!

Registration to view items is free and can be easily accessed on your phone.

In an effort to raise funds to avoid the fate of a predicted one-third of our country’s cultural institutions slated to close for good, the New York City Fire Museum will be hosting a Golf Outing this Thursday June 24 at the beautiful Muttontown Club.

In addition to an exciting round of golf we are hosting a virtual auction. Click the link https://www.eventhubpro.com/69b7a5d7120a65 to register to bid on some amazing items including the helmet pictured below, Code 3 models, baseball game tickets, winery tour and much more!

Registration to view items is free and can be easily accessed on your phone.

Flashback Friday – For the FDNY, the year 2001 is overwhelmed by the memory of the September 11th terrorist attacks that...
06/18/2021

Flashback Friday – For the FDNY, the year 2001 is overwhelmed by the memory of the September 11th terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 343 FDNY firefighters, with an additional 245 – to date – that have died due to illnesses connected with their exposures at the World Trade Center site.

But yesterday, June 17, was the 20th anniversary of the tragedy known as the Father’s Day Fire, where three members of the Department made the Supreme Sacrifice; Firefighters Harry Ford and Brian Fahey of Rescue 4, and John Downing from Ladder 163.

The fire occurred at the Long Island General Supply Company hardware store at Astoria Boulevard and 14th Street in Queens. After being extinguished, an explosion caused a collapse to occur killing Ford and Downing, and sending Fahey into the basement. Although in contact by handie-talkie, Firefighter Fahey succumbed to his injuries before rescuers could reach him. One of the more painful memories of this loss was that eight children lost their fathers on the day they were to be celebrated.

Today, the NYC Fire Museum honors the memory of Firefighters Ford, Fahey and Downing.

The General Slocum FireToday’s Flashback Friday takes us back to one of the most tragic days in New York City History.  ...
06/11/2021

The General Slocum Fire
Today’s Flashback Friday takes us back to one of the most tragic days in New York City History. On June 15th, 1904, the sidewheel passenger ship General Slocum caught fire on the East River, killing 1,021 of the 1,358 souls on board. This was the largest loss of life in NYC history before September 11th 2001.

Chartered by the St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the passengers came mostly from the German-American community of the Lower East Side, and was to take them to the North Shore of Long Island for a picnic outing.

Most of the passengers were families of men, women and children. As the ship made its way up the East River, good times turned bad very quickly. There have been varying accounts of how the fire started, but it spread rapidly within a half hour of leaving dock around 9 a.m. The panic was horrific among the passengers as they faced death by drowning or being burned alive on the ship. It was reported that most of the passengers could not swim, but threw themselves in the water to escape the flames and searing heat.

The first arriving FDNY units were Engine 60 and Ladder 17 from their quarters on West 137th Street in the Bronx. It was initially assumed that the Slocum would pull into one of the piers along the shoreline where they could have attacked the flames. But as they watched the ship continue to proceed north, a call went in for fireboats to respond. The Zophar Mills from its berth at East 99th Street in the Harlem River and the Abram S. Hewitt from its berth at North 8th Street on the Brooklyn shore of the East River, were dispatched. The Mills was said to have actually been following the Slocum waiting for it to stop so they could start their pumps and put water on the fire. Instead, their mission became one of rescue and recovery. Over 150 survivors were snatched from the water by the fireboat Mills.

The tragedy led to both Federal and State regulations to improve emergency equipment and inspection on passenger ships. A memorial to the victims was erected in Tompkins Square Park near the former St. Marks Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1904, and another on the former site of the former church, in 2004.

A strange addendum to this story is that the wreckage of the Slocum was salvaged and tuned into a cargo barge. The ship, now renamed the Maryland, sunk in 1909, was refloated, only to sink again in 1911.

Flashback Friday – Today we highlight one of the items from the Museum collection that is on display in the Second-Floor...
06/04/2021

Flashback Friday – Today we highlight one of the items from the Museum collection that is on display in the Second-Floor gallery. It is an exquisite speaking trumpet presented to James P. Walker. Mr. Walker served as Chief Engineer of the Flushing Fire Department. Born in 1827, he was a member of Mutual Engine Company 1 and was its Foreman. He became the Chief Engineer of the FFD in 1863 at which time his company presented him with this trumpet. After his passing in 1896, his widow gave the trumpet to the then-Chief Engineer James McCormick, who in turn fulfilled the wish of Chief Walker, as expressed in his will, and gave it to Mutual Engine.

The Flushing Fire Department was ostensibly formed around 1820 when one fire engine was purchased by the village. But after it was sold, a more formal department, consisting of several companies, was formed in 1854. After the FDNY expanded into the five boroughs, the Flushing volunteers were mustered out of service on December 1, 1908.

From the earliest day of the transition to a paid department from the volunteer era, FDNY members have consistently and ...
06/01/2021

From the earliest day of the transition to a paid department from the volunteer era, FDNY members have consistently and proudly served their country. As we celebrate Memorial Day, the New York City Fire Museum would like to pay tribute to these brave members who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom.

Pictured is Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, leader of the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry, also known as the Fire Zouaves, a unit consisting of firefighters who volunteered to fight for the Union in the Civil War. Col. Ellsworth was the first man killed in action during the war. While Col. Ellsworth was not a firefighter, he recruited firefighters to form the unit and fought beside them.

In 2019, the FDNY held a ceremony to honor department members killed during the two World Wars. The year was the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War 1, and one year shy of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2. Eight men were killed between 1917 and 1919 during the First World War, and an additional 35 were lost between 1941 and 1945 during the Second World War.

Thankfully, no members were killed in action during either the Korean or Vietnam Wars, but many served their nation. Over 70 members served in Korea, while over 200 served in Vietnam. Pictured is former Commissioner Sal Cassano receiving a pin for his service during the Vietnam War.

Since the commencement of the War on Terror, many members have been called to serve, and several have made the Supreme Sacrifice, including most recently Firefighter and Marine Staff Sergeant Christopher Slutman (pictured). Presently, approximately 1400 firefighters and EMTs are either reservists of veterans of the conflict.

The New York City Fire Museum honors these brave members on the most solemn of our National holidays. Their bravery and dedication to both New York City and our nation will always be remembered.

Save 20% on all items this Memorial Day Weekend. Visit nycfiremuseum.org/shop and enter code MEM20 at checkout.
05/28/2021

Save 20% on all items this Memorial Day Weekend. Visit nycfiremuseum.org/shop and enter code MEM20 at checkout.

Save 20% on all items this Memorial Day Weekend. Visit nycfiremuseum.org/shop and enter code MEM20 at checkout.

Flashback Friday – The NYC Fire Museum receives numerous requests for information ranging from genealogic research by fa...
05/21/2021

Flashback Friday – The NYC Fire Museum receives numerous requests for information ranging from genealogic research by family members of former FDNY members, to inquiries about objects they might personally possess. For example, numerous artifacts can be found with the initials, “V.S.F.D.N.Y.” The question always is, where is it from and how does it fit into FDNY history?

First, the letters “FDNY” are used by many fire departments, mostly volunteer, around the state. This normally appears on their badges or patches. Shown below is a badge in the Museum’s collection from Coram, Long Island. The letters “VS” are often associated with Valley Stream, New York, but also, “Volunteer Service.” In the latter case, many people associate it with the New York City Fire Department, in particular its iterations of an auxiliary corps (now defunct).

Recently, some artifacts were donated to the Museum that illustrate this. They are from Hook & Ladder Company 1 of the Hollis, Queens volunteer fire department. The department was operational from 1890 until the FDNY took over the area in 1921. So we know from this example that although the badge shown here bears the lettering, “FDNY,” is not from the New York City agency, it is from a community, volunteer organization.

The NYC Fire Museum is an educational institution and is pleased to assist researchers who have questions such as these. However, it is worthwhile to note several things. First, the Museum does NOT have any FDNY personnel records. Requests for those must be directed to FDNY Human Resources. Due to confidentiality issues, regardless of how long ago the member served, release of documents is restricted. Second, the quickest way to research the Museum’s holdings, is to visit our website and, under “Exhibitions,” use the “Online Catalog,” and do a search. From there you can request further information via the “Feedback” form on an item’s page, or from “Contact the Museum” on the home page. We do our best to find information to assist you.

05/20/2021

NEW podcast episode is up! The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) celebrates #EMSWeek!
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In this episode of Throwback FDNY… The Deep Roots of the Bureau of EMS Extends Back to 1869, FDNY Introduces the City to the First Firefighter/EMTs in 1975 and the 1954 Passing of Dr. Harry Archer.
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Check it out and please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
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Presented by the New York City Fire Museum with support from the #FDNY and the FDNY Foundation.

We were honored by a visit today from retired LAFD Chief of Department Brian Cummings and his wife Mallory!!
05/20/2021

We were honored by a visit today from retired LAFD Chief of Department Brian Cummings and his wife Mallory!!

We were honored by a visit today from retired LAFD Chief of Department Brian Cummings and his wife Mallory!!

The NYC Fire Museum is pleased to announce our partnership with the New York Department of Records and Information Servi...
05/18/2021

The NYC Fire Museum is pleased to announce our partnership with the New York Department of Records and Information Services, “Neighborhood Stories” project. Neighborhood Stories is a storytelling initiative by the NYC Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) to gather and preserve the stories of NYC neighborhoods. Through a series of oral history interviews, New Yorkers will be able to share the memories of their neighborhoods and communities - and have them preserved in perpetuity at the NYC Municipal Archives.

Many retired members will recall the days we refer to as “The War Years” when companies were running at mind-boggling rates to multiple alarm fires, with limited resources and under combat-like conditions. If any members would like to talk about their experiences during this unprecedented time in New York City history, there are numerous ways to participate. You can also feel free to share stories about firehouse life in the neighborhood where you worked, at any time during your career.

Visit the Neighborhood Stories website to learn more and sign on to share your story: www.archives.nyc/neighborhoodstories.

The NYC Fire Museum is pleased to announce our partnership with the New York Department of Records and Information Services, “Neighborhood Stories” project. Neighborhood Stories is a storytelling initiative by the NYC Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) to gather and preserve the stories of NYC neighborhoods. Through a series of oral history interviews, New Yorkers will be able to share the memories of their neighborhoods and communities - and have them preserved in perpetuity at the NYC Municipal Archives.

Many retired members will recall the days we refer to as “The War Years” when companies were running at mind-boggling rates to multiple alarm fires, with limited resources and under combat-like conditions. If any members would like to talk about their experiences during this unprecedented time in New York City history, there are numerous ways to participate. You can also feel free to share stories about firehouse life in the neighborhood where you worked, at any time during your career.

Visit the Neighborhood Stories website to learn more and sign on to share your story: www.archives.nyc/neighborhoodstories.

Today’s Flashback Friday honors the legacy of Dr. Harry Archer.  Born April 23, 1868,  Dr. Archer received his Medical d...
05/14/2021

Today’s Flashback Friday honors the legacy of Dr. Harry Archer. Born April 23, 1868, Dr. Archer received his Medical degree in 1894 and was designated a Medical Officer to the Fire Department in 1907 and given the rank of honorary Battalion Chief. His presence at fire scenes became commonplace, often arriving in the 1914 FDNY ambulance he designed. Not satisfied with merely tending to the wounded, Dr. Archer often entered burning collapsed buildings to administer aid. His actions earned him four citations for bravery, including the Department’s highest award, the James Gordon Bennett Medal.

Dr. Archer’s dedication to firefighters extended beyond merely treating wounds at the scene. He became nationally known for his expertise in the treatment of toxic gas poisoning innovative treatment methods, extending his care of firefighters and civilians nationwide.

In 1947, the Doctor Harry M. Archer Medal was endowed in his name. It is awarded every third year to one of the three previous Bennett Medal recipients. In 1939, Mayor LaGuardia asked Archer to serve as Second Deputy Commissioner, which he did until 1940. To do so, he had to resign his honorary position and rank. In 1956, Commissioner Cavanaugh unveiled a plaque in Headquarters honoring Dr. Archer's sixty years of devotion and service to the members of the Department. In 1958, a fireboat was commissioned in his name. The vessel remained in service until being retired in 1994.

Dr. Archer passed away on May 17th, 1954 at the age of 86, and was given a full Departmental funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral. He is buried in the family crypt at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, New York.

The plaque dedicated to Dr. Archer (recently added to the NYC Fire Museum collection,) states his legacy best: “Few men live lives of more devoted self-sacrifice. He lived for and gave a lifetime service to the welfare of comrades in the Fire Department of the City of New York.”

Address

278 Spring St
New York, NY
10013

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

Opening Hours

Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 9am - 5pm
Sunday 9am - 5pm

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(212) 691-1303

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