Entirely run by volunteers, the Buffalo Fire Historical Society Museum is a venture of love, pride, and passion, and the history collected within the museum itself is a fascinating look into the New York Fire Department and the history of their methods as well as a wide collection of memorabilia from across the years of service.
Their mission is to preserve and collect a variety of artefacts that give the visitors a window into the life and operation of the Buffalo Fire Department over the years. The museum also offers helpful and in-depth instruction on fire prevention and fire safety. It’s an educational trip that could just save your life one day.
Among the collection, the museum has both modern and historical firefighting artefacts, including both horse-drawn and motorised fire apparatus, various uniforms and badges spanning decades, helmets and patches, fire alarm boxes, photography and postcards, journals, models, and toys. There is an exhibit on 9/11 and the important role the fire service of New York played on that tragic day. There is also an exhibition looking into the December 27th propane explosion of 1983, which claimed the lives of five members of the fire department.
It’s not all just articles in glass cases, however, as there are also a range of informational videos and films looking into the day-to-day lives of the people who serve. There are interactive exhibits that let the visitors experience what it is like to be a fireman; for example, you can sit in the cab of a tiller and experience exactly what it feels like to drive a laddered vehicle.
Some might say that Christmas time is the greatest time of the year, and the Buffalo Fire Museum agree. Every year they deck the halls with a beautifully themed display, where over 100 ceramic firehouses and plenty of other decorations come together in a smorgasbord that is sure to set the holidays ablaze.
The guided tours are particularly interesting and will provide a decent amount of backstory, detailed explanation, and a history of the amassed items in the collection. The docents who lead the tours are all retired Buffalo firemen themselves and not only may have used the equipment on display but also have a great deal of respect and passion for the subject.
Admission and Opening Hours
Admission to the museum is free of charge although they do take donations and support in the form of membership. There are two levels of membership, active and friend of the society, which cost $25 and $15, respectively.
The museum is open only on Saturdays from 10:00am to 4:00pm and there are group tours available by appointment. The museum is completely handicapped accessible and additional assistance can be given upon request.
1850 William Street, Buffalo, New York 14206, website, Phone: 716-892-8400
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