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  • Writer's pictureCEO

A Spring Update from our CEO

HAPPY SPRING to all of the Museum's loyal supporters and visitors! This time last year we were contemplating exiting lockdown and wondering when life would get back to some type of normal, so it is great to see that one year on the public are really getting behind the museum and getting out to visit organisations such as ours that have been so severely impacted by the multiple closures.

Let's start off this blog with one for all the Duke fans out there! The Museum's spotted mascot has been seen on site striking a pose for a special upcoming promotion! While he was here his sister Suki (our pest specialist, who has been much needed following the recent floods!) got in on the action and really stole the show! We look forward to sharing more of their recent Museum adventure over the coming months!

Before delving into an update on what has been happening at the Museum, I wanted to share a historical event that occurred 100 years ago on this day. We don’t often get a chance to share incidents from overseas, but it was a century ago that Canada faced a fire tragedy.

On this day 100 years, what has been termed, “The Great Fire of 1922” began in Ontario, Canada. This

devastating event is considered one of the worst in Canada’s history with at least four communities completely wiped out and up to 18 impacted, including parts of Quebec. Over 1,680 square kilometres were destroyed, and the death toll was 43. The fire was able to spread fast and maintain intensity due to strong winds.

One of the towns hit hardest was Haileybury with the deaths of 11 people and over 90% of the town lost. (Pictured here).

The fire was eventually extinguished the following day, 5 October 1922, when rain and even snow began to fall.

Haileybury following the Great Fire of 1922 (Source: Haileybury Heritage Museum)

Continuing with the historic theme I was so pleased with how History Week 2022 and Ask a Curator Day 2022 (now known as Ask a Museum Day) went last month. Our new look heritage team came together to share some great pieces of history and shine a light on many aspects of the collection. (For more on the team check out the recent blog: CLICK HERE).

The Team come together for #AskAMuseumDay 2022

While I think all of the items presented by the team represent the history that the Museum holds within its collection, I was particularly interested in the Pop Vinyl shared by Ella, which had just entered the Museum's collection. This item showcases how Museum’s need to collect current and why it is important do so – if we don’t collect it now, it may not be there in the future to do so. Here is an extract about the pop vinyl:

In response to the 2019/2020 summer bushfires Funko, in collaboration with Popcultcha, created a special edition Pop! Vinyl to raise funds for the RSPCA National Bushfire Appeal. This special edition Funk Pop salutes the courageous heroes who risk their lives in the effort to combat Australia’s deadly bushfire. The koala companion pays tribute to the devastating reduction of Australia’s animal population as a result of these fires. This special edition funko pop is the newest addition to our collection.

Throughout the last few months, the Museum team have been very busy welcoming lots of visitors into the Museum, especially last weekend when we finally got to hold our first ever Family Day. This FREE event was held on the Museum grounds and was attended by both Fire and Rescue NSW as well as the Rural Fire Service who shared important messages with our visitors about fire safety and being ready for the bushfire season. We also had free face painting and a petting zoo! Fire engine rides were popular as always and we offered a special entry rate into the museum (adults at kid’s prices) which lots of people took up – making it one of our busiest visitation days ever!

If you missed out but want to visit, be sure to do so and remember the NSW Parental Vouchers expire this weekend, so use them before they’re gone! (The Museum does accept them)!

The Museum recently hosted the Girls on Fire program which works with girls aged 15-19 to introduce them to fire, emergency and disaster management skills. Over two days the girls combined practical and theoretical frontline emergency experience to show them what a career in firefighting can be like. It was great to see the girls on our grounds and we look forward to welcoming them back next year!

There has been so much happening at the Museum so I’m sure I’m missing a lot of the fun we’ve been having but I’ll finish this blog with some photos from the St. Mary’s Festival that the team attended after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. It was great to see the vehicles back out on the road and we look forward to taking them out more often, so keep your eyes peeled as you may see a parade a fire engines making their way around Penrith!

We’ve been incredibly busy, but we still have more to offer this year! Keep an eye on our website and social media for all upcoming events!

-Museum of Fire CEO, Belinda McMartin


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