October 14, 2011 – April 29, 2012
Between Terminals C and D
The Fireman’s Hall Museum, Philadelphia, opened to the public in 1967 with a mission to preserve the City’s firefighting history through its extensive collection that includes fire apparatus: both scale models and actual fire trucks; firefighting tools from leather buckets to hooks and axes; uniforms; fire marks; regalia including painted parade hats; and historic prints and photographs. The museum is considered one of the premier fire museums in the United States. And rightly so, as Philadelphia’s firefighting history dates back to the late 1600s when the City’s founder, William Penn, planned for a fire resistant community. Decades later, one of Philadelphia’s most famous citizens, Benjamin Franklin, often wrote about fire prevention and the need to have a more organized method of firefighting. On December 7, 1737, Franklin and other fellow citizens organized the Union Fire Company of Philadelphia, the city's first volunteer firehouse. Franklin’s company became a model for other volunteer companies in Philadelphia and throughout the colonies. Some of these very early artifacts are housed at Fireman’s Hall Museum, including a 1730 engine possibly used by volunteer firefighters of the Union Fire Company.
Philadelphia’s Fireman’s Hall Museum is located in a restored firehouse originally built around 1902. In addition to its collection, the museum also promotes fire prevention practices and is an active unit of the Philadelphia Fire Department. The museum continues to honor firefighting heroes of today and provides a means to remember Philadelphia’s significant contributions to America’s firefighting history.