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The Firefighter's Hall and Museum: Vintage Firefighting Equipment in Minneapolis


Vintage fire truck at the Firefighter's Hall and Museum, Northeast Minneapolis.

Vintage fire truck at the Firefighter's Hall and Museum, Northeast Minneapolis.

Clara James
The Firefighter's Hall and Museum, in Northeast Minneapolis, is dedicated to preserving vintage firefighting equipment. The museum cares for a horse-drawn pumper, a beautiful brass steam-powered fire engine, fire trucks from the 1930s, and many more fire trucks and fire engines dating back 100 years.

Firefighting equipment that many of us have only seen in comics or cartoons are here. Fire departments and rescue crews really did use nets with targets drawn in the center to catch people who jumped from burning buildings, and here is one such net on display here. And yes, fire stations really did have dalmatian dogs - you can find out why at the Firefighters Hall and Museum.

And there is a huge array of other vintage fire fighting equipment. This is a hands-on museum, and many items that can be touched, tried on (like helmets and boots) and slid down (a firefighter's pole) and climbed in (some of the trucks) to make this a fascinating day out.

Children can also pump water, and operate a fire alarm telegraph system, and pretend to drive a ladder truck. There are survivors from before the days of cellphones - a vintage telephone switchboard which operators used to manually connect calls, and a working fire box used in days gone by to alert the fire station to an emergency, are on display.

The newest exhibition is called 81 Minutes, and tells the story of, and remembers the victims, of the 35-W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Firefighters and other emergency personnel who risked their lives in the rescue effort, are paid tribute to.

As well as the remarkable exhibits, the museum has a serious mission too. Active and retired firefighters help to run the museum, and teach pre-school and school age children, as well as adults, about fire safety. The museum works with local schools and fire departments to teach fire safety to visiting children's groups. Families visiting can learn about fire safety from the museum's displays, and the immensely knowledgeable volunteers on duty.

The Firefighter's Hall and Museum is open to all on Saturdays all year round. Between June 30 and Labor Day, the Firefighters Hall and Museum is also open on Sundays. Groups can visit the museum on other days by appointment.

On Saturdays from April until October, a ride in a real fire truck is included with admission - highly recommended and great fun even for adults.

Admission prices in 2012 were $6 for adults, and $3 for children.

The Firefighter's Hall and Museum
664 22nd Avenue Northeast
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Telephone 612-623-3817

Website http://firehallmuseum.org

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