Our two exhibit floors trace the development of firefighting in New York from the early bucket brigades to the present day. Displayed are objects that document the history of the volunteer and paid departments, from painted leather buckets to early motorized apparatus. A separate memorial exhibit honors the 343 members of FDNY-EMS who made the Supreme Sacrifice on September 11, 2001.
Firefighting on Parade
Romance of Firefighting
Tools and Uniforms
On the first floor, visitors will see a horse-drawn ladder wagon, early rescue gear and breathing equipment, alarm boxes from various eras, and motorized vehicles, such as a 1921 American La France engine, all of which give a sense of what firefighting was like at different times in the city’s paid department era. Also on display are tools and clothing used by modern firefighters. The transition from turnout coats to all-encompassing bunker gear is shown on a series of mannequins. Tools, such as the Halligan forcible entry tool and the Jaws of Life, show visitors what it is like to be a firefighter.
On the second floor, the “romance of firefighting” is shown through paintings and prints from the volunteer era. Displayed as if on parade are striking examples of elaborate hand-drawn and hand-pumped engines, including a piano box style engine, a goose neck pumper, and a double-decker Philadelphia style engine which, aside from being used to fight fire, was at the opening celebration of the Statue of Liberty.
Be sure to access our online catalog with over 8,000 images, searchable by any option.