The Fire Museum of Texas is a unique and exciting way to learn about the history of firefighting. With a collection of actual antiques and artifacts from the 1850s on, this free museum is a must see for anyone interested in or who has a family member who has been involved in firefighting.
Located in a former fire station built in 1927 (the building itself is considered a historical landmark and is entered into the registry of historical places), The Fire Museum of Texas made its debut in 1984 and has been growing steadily since. Considered one of the best free museums in the state of Texas, it welcomes many visitors through its doors and involves the local community with learning about firefighting and fire safety. The museum is considered a non-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and has been endorsed by many local firefighting organizations.
Permanent Attractions and Exhibits
The Fire Museum’s exhibits focus on highlighting different parts of the history of firefighting, like different equipment and other apparatuses. Many of the artifacts come from the 19th and 20th centuries and are unique in how they feature how firefighting has evolved throughout the years.
While The Fire Museum occasionally offers temporary and traveling exhibits, its permanent collection starts with a Howe tub pumper that is hand-drawn (from 1856), moves through aerial ladders (from the American LaFrance company in 1909), early fire engines (from 1923, also from the American LaFrance company) and even a few more specialty vehicles like an REO search-light truck from 1931 (the first of its kind in the entire US).
Visitors to the museum can also learn more about how different natural disasters that have occurred in Texas have literally shaped the history of firefighting. Learn about the school explosion that happened in New London in 1937 and the disaster in Texas City in 1947. There are also exhibits that focus on firefighting around the world!
The most unique attraction at The Fire Museum is a fire hydrant. This fire hydrant, however, isn’t just a regular, everyday hydrant… it is the largest (working) hydrant in the whole world! The fire hydrant stands 24 feet tall and is painting with Dalmatian spots. It is possibly the best photo opportunity to be had at the entire museum! The hydrant was originally constructed for the re-release of the classic Disney movie 101 Dalmatian and was transported to Texas from California in 1999. It weighs over 4500 pounds!
Visitors to The Fire Museum should also make sure to see the three-different memorial exhibits.
· Texas Firefighter Memorial: Created in 2010, this memorial features a bronze life-sized statue pays homage to all of the Texas firefighters who have served.
· 9-11 Memorial: Featuring a a portion of an actual metal beam from the World Trade Center, this memorial is a somber reminder of loss of life on September 11th, 2001.
· Commemorative Walkway: Bricks are available for purchase on the walkway to honor retired, fallen, in memoriam, or even entire fire departments. The bricks can be purchased online.
The Fire Museum is open Mondays through Fridays from 8am to 4:30pm and is free to the general public. Tours can be scheduled by contacting the museum, and after-hours museum viewing is available with an appointment as well.
The Fire Museum is home to a variety of interesting firefighting related special events that occur throughout the year.
The largest one is the Fire Prevention and Family Safety Fest, which occurs annual in October (normally on the first Saturday). This festival, which is hosted by the museum as well as Fire and Rescue in Beaumont, brings guests together to learn about fire safety while having fun and even having free food and beverages! There are games and activities for children, live demonstrations from EMS, rescue, and firefighters, and other fun. It is offered free of charge.
There are also other smaller special events. These events are frequently updated on The Fire Museum’s calendar on their website. These events can vary from small get togethers to larger scale events to commemorate historical events and many of them are offered totally free of charge to the general public and include access to the museum itself.
The Fire Museum does offer a small gift shop for guests who want to remember their visit with a souvenir. It is a fairly new offering and they are still working hard to build it to their specifications so actual gift shop offerings may vary but their main focus will be on apparel, toys, and books related to the history of firefighting.
Fire Museum of Texas, 400 Walnut, Beaumont, TX, 77701, Phone: 409-880-3927