Romance of Firefighting

Volunteer firemen protected the life and property of New Yorkers and were important members of the City. They had a tough job and were always at the ready. With no horses or motors, volunteer firemen depended on their muscle to pull apparatus to a fire. Volunteer companies were also social groups and members often visited one another to show off their apparatus and uniforms. Volunteers fighting fires and partaking in social events are depicted in the paintings and illustrations displayed on the Museum’s second floor. These pieces are works of art as well as documentation of the “romance of firefighting.”

Our Permanent Exhibitions

One of the most interesting stories, not told elsewhere in the City, is that of the early days of fire fighting in New York. The museum is privileged to house much of the City's collection of historic firefighting artifacts, memorabilia and equipment dating from as early as the 1650s. Together our collection of documents, firefighting apparatus, fire marks, buckets, trumpets, helmets, rattles, lanterns, uniforms and other artifacts tell a powerful story of early New York, the challenges faced by our ancestors and their ingenuity and skill in preventing and controlling fires in a setting and conditions difficult to imagine today.

Firefighting on Parade

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Below are links to other galleries within this site:
Halligan Tool Case
Marine Operations
FDNY in 1970s
25th Anniversary
Remembering Their Prayers
Fire Mark Gallery


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On Display

Our exhibits trace the development of firefighting in NYC. More

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Featured Exhibit

Find out more about new exhibits installed at the Museum. More

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Online Catalog

Our online database contains records and photos of our objects in storage. More

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