• Museum of Fire Heritage Team

An Update from Our CEO - Exciting Things Are Happening at the Museum!

It has been a very busy few weeks at the Museum as our team prepare for some upcoming special events and have taken part in some recent station openings.


One of the lesser known activities of the Museum is our role as the official heritage partner to FRNSW. It is in this capacity that we act as heritage advisor to FRNSW when it comes to moveable heritage (the most common things being plaques, bells, appliances and even billiard tables) and preserving the history of both the brigade and general fire related history for future generations.


Recently the Minister for police and emergency services, David Elliott and FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter officially opened new stations at Parkes and South Tamworth. If you follow the Museum on social media, then you would have noticed the active role our team played. For both events the Museum’s team produced full-colour books that chronicle the history of each brigade. Ironically both of these books dated back to 1878 which shows just how long and associated the brigades have with each individual town. For a sneak peak of some of the content you can check out last week’s blog where we featured the history of Parkes: https://www.museumoffire.net/post/station-focus-no-417-parkes-1878-2020


Pictured: Parkes Fire Brigade Captain Craig Gibson, Commissioner Paul Baxter, Museum CEO Belinda McMartin, Minister for Police & Emergency Services David Elliott and Mayor of Parkes Ken Keith.


The history within these books provides the backbone for these station events as it reassures the local community that the history of the brigades are not being lost with the transition to new stations and it solidifies the new station’s connection with the past.


To highlight this fact the Museum also produces a short history of the brigade that is then hung within the new station (pictured being presented here at both Parkes and South Tamworth). The Museum’s team also produce a number of pieces on historic incidents from the stations that are featured on both FRNSW and the Museum’s social media. Our team also create a slideshow film that runs for the duration of the event (this can be seen behind the presenters).


FRNSW have such a strong connection with the past and it is the Museum’s role to ensure this is celebrated. To this end I am pleased to share some insight into our upcoming History Week events that will be presented both at the Museum and online.


Pictured: Museum of Fire CEO Belinda McMartin and Commissioner Paul Baxter (far right) present the newly formed South Tamworth Fire Brigade, represented by Captain Carl Dunn and Station Officer Johnathon Hughes, with a framed history of firefighting in Tamworth.



History Week 2020


History Week is an annual event by the History Council NSW. Due to these unprecedented times it is a highly digital event this year however due to the Museum’s COVID policies and capabilities we are able to offer some events within the museum, however these have limited capacity.


To really celebrate history, we’ve decided to undertake a complete week of events! This kicks off with a special entry price for all visitors on Saturday 5th September 2020. Not only are adults at kids prices ($6 each) but we are offering guided tours. Traditionally tours are only offered to groups but on Saturday you can spend some time with one of our volunteer guides. Spaces are booking up fast so I highly recommend calling our team today to book your place!


On Sunday 6th September to celebrate Father’s Day entry for all Dads is FREE! Also on Sunday we are hosting our first keynote presentation to discuss this year’s History Week theme which is “History – What is it good for?” Due to COVID restrictions places are extremely limited so we will also be going live on Facebook for the event. This video will be available afterwards on our website.


For this event I will be joined by two other speakers who play a role in telling the historic story of FRNSW. Ian Grimwood specialises in military and honours history while David Tai wrote the book on the history of the Brigade’s Chief Officers. It will be an interesting discussion and at the conclusion of the event we will be launching the Museum’s new visitation membership program. To have early access to this program please register your email on our blog page: https://www.museumoffire.net/blog-2


Throughout the week we then have a number of other events on offer from a behind the scenes tour on Monday 7th to entry into the Museum by gold coin donation only on Thursday 10th.


We then cap off History Week with a jam-packed weekend of activities on the 12th and 13th! You can join along from the comfort of your own home on Saturday 12th as we share different historic tales throughout the day. Keep an eye on our social media for more information on this event but it will be a fun day and even feature some live trivia!


On Sunday 13th we will then be opening up some of the collection that is rarely seen. This is supported by the Historic Fire Engine Association (HFEA) who have a long history of cooperation and collaboration with the Museum. This is a FREE event (Museum entry not included) but you will need to register before arriving at the Museum so please see our website for more details.



#AskACuratorDay

Due to the recent government advisory on the suspension of all school excursions the Museum has lost a considerable amount of income. This is of course on top of the two-month closure and loss of all our fundraising events. We are in the process of creating a digital excursion but in the interim we are offering a special digital event for schools with #AskACuratorDay. This is a popular social media day and while we will have some time set aside for the public to ask our curators some questions, we are offering some personalised time for schools. Please see the information in the flyer below. All content can be tailor-made for your school.

Before I wrap up this expansive list of everything going on at the museum, I just want to take a minute to thank everyone who has come to visit the museum over the past few months. The museum is a COVID certified venue with all our staff and volunteers working extremely hard to ensure high standards are maintained. Having said that I’d like to thank the public for also following the guidelines and directions of staff during your visits. In order to remain open and operational this is essential so thank you all very much and I look forward to seeing you again in the Museum!


-Belinda McMartin, Museum of Fire CEO

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1 Museum Drive, Penrith, NSW 

Tel (02) 4731 3000