If you want to get off the standard museum path, our latest favorite is the NYC Fire Museum. Located in a stunning 1904 Beaux-Arts firehouse next to one of those ubiquitous stacked parking lots on Spring Street, what’s inside is even more impressive. The collection tells the story of the fire department from the colonial Dutch days to now, covering the evolution from volunteer to paid municipal departments, with a permanent 9/11 Memorial as well.
A horse drawn steam engine used in Brooklyn from 1901. The last official one was used in 1922:
A Type 75 American LaFrance engine from around 1921 which replaced the horse drawn steam engine:
A horse drawn chief’s buggy from 1892, used by fire chiefs to race to the scene. The accompanying sign says, “Today, they ride in GM Suburban automobiles.”:
This was known as a gooseneck engine because of the shape of the nozzle and was the most common engine until the 1840s:
This electric light from around 1900 aided fire fighters at night, powered by generators on the steam engines:
On the second floor you get to even more ornate buggies, shown as if on parade:
This hand pulled reel comes from Steinway Village, then a manufacturing village for the Steinway & Sons piano company. The sign says, “Volunteers took pride in their apparatus and went to great lengths and expense to decorate them”:
Elaborate shields given from one fire company to another:
Vintage fire hats:
The 9/11 Memorial has an incredible photographic time line:
A collection of artifacts:
This Nikon from the FDNY photo team was lost and recovered with its memory card intact. The photos displayed around the camera show the images taken from this camera after the first plane hit:
There’s also recovered steel from the site, like this one where iron workers cut out crosses to give to families who lost loved ones:
The NYC Fire Museum is located at 278 Spring Street. You can even rent out the space for events, like this bat mitzvah! And don’t miss the chance to try on the firefighter gear (even though it says its for children).
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.