Mission and Founding
The mission of the New York City Fire Museum is to collect, preserve and present the history and cultural heritage of the fire service of New York and to provide fire prevention and safety education to the public, especially children.
NYCFM Founding, Evolution, and Facts
The New York City Fire Museum’s roots date back to 1870 when it was established in the headquarters of the Fire Commissioners at 155 Mercer Street. Exactly when it was dismantled is not documented but was most likely at the time when headquarters was relocated to East 67th Street in the late 1880’s. In 1938, Chief of Department John McKenna ordered that the relics be set up as a museum, along with a library, on the seventh floor of the NYC Fire College in the Packard Building at 32-02 Queens Boulevard in Long Island City. A better home was secured in 1948 in the new FDNY apparatus repair shops at 48-58 35th Street. It remained there until 1957 when a bay was vacated at the quarters of Hook & Ladder Company 1 at 100 Duane Street in Manhattan. This location made it much easier for the general public to visit the impressive array of artifacts exhibited on three floors of the firehouse. The Museum remained there until the Home Insurance Company presented its own extensive collection of fire memorabilia to the city in 1981, making a move to larger space imperative.
A new non-profit, The Friends of the New York City Fire Department Collection, was created to raise funds to renovate the former quarters of Engine Company No. 30, a 1904 Beaux-Arts firehouse on Spring Street, and in 1987, the New York City Fire Museum opened its doors and has proudly been in operation ever since.
Displays illustrate the evolution of firefighting from the bucket brigades of Peter Stuyvesant’s New Amsterdam through the colorful history of volunteer firefighters to modern firefighting techniques and equipment. The Museum houses a special memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who made the Supreme Sacrifice on 9/11 and features a number of firefighting artifacts recovered from the World Trade Center site. A video room and a mock apartment with an artificial smoke machine and black-lighted fire hazards are used in the museum’s fire education program for school children ages K through 12.
The New York City Fire Museum attracts 40,000 visitors a year from all over America and almost every country in the world. Retired FDNY firefighters proudly volunteer to relate stories of New York City's “Bravest” and with the help of the Museum’s stunning collection, tell how they earned that distinction.
On November 17, 2015, the New York City Fire Museum received an Absolute Charter from the Board of Regents of the NYS Department of Education. This is a significant step forward giving our museum the recognition it justly deserves as an important cultural and historical institution. Accordingly, The Friends of the New York City Fire Department Collection entity officially changed its name to the New York Fire Museum.