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International Museum Day – the Museum of Fire as a platform for Education and Research

Saturday 18 May 2024 is International Museum Day. Since 1977 ICOM, the International Council of Museums, has hosted this special Museum Day as a way to raise awareness of Museum’s as an important cultural repository and important tool for international cooperation and development of peace amongst all people. Annually over 158 countries take part with different events from sharing online content to hosting events in the Museum space.

In 2024 the theme of International Museum Day is “Museums for Education and Research”. According to ICOM Museums serve as dynamic educational hubs, fostering curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. From art and history to science and technology, museums are vital spaces where education and research converge to shape our understanding of the world. Museums are a vital space that provides a platform for the exploration of ideas and dissemination of information.

This is particularly true for the Museum of Fire within our capacity as the Heritage Partner to FRNSW and as an educational destination.

When it comes to the latter, whether we are providing historical stories or important fire safety information we strive to be a destination for education but we hope to do it in a way that draws in people and captures their attention so that, even if they don’t want an educational experience, they’ll find themselves having such a great time that you’ll unintentionally learn something during a visit.

Museum of Fire Heritage Assistant Tiana installing our 2023 New and Noteworthy exhibit.

As the Heritage Partner to FRNSW we are able to provide an important platform for the sharing of historical ideas and the bringing together of community knowledge. As a centralised unit we can collect the history and information from around the state and then both preserve and present it in a way that no other entity can. This includes the updating of our exhibits, the temporary remote exhibits we create and collaborate to establish, our digital blogs and the books we produce for the individual stations and brigades across the state as they celebrate either a new station or centenary event.

I am a true believer in the phrase “those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it” and this is why I believe historical organisations such as museums are so important. Museums are the entity which teach us to look to the past in order to move forward and advance into the future. In all of our exhibits and projects we take a direct focus on comparing the past to the present as a way to showcase how far (or in some cases how little) humankind have progressed and what needs to be focused upon to ensure the next generation will have the best chance of thriving in our world.

In 2021, during the pandemic, many surveys were conducted as to how trustworthy different industries or organisations were with museum’s always ranking very high. In a survey by the Council of Australasian Museum Directors, 78% of the public found museum’s to be trustworthy, more so than newspapers or (of course) politicians. A similar American survey by the American Alliance of Museum’s, also from 2021, stated that 9 out of 10 people considered museum’s trustworthy with no other organisation rating this highly. This means that most people who participated in the survey trust the information being issued and shared by museum’s to be more trustworthy than that of any other source.

Having the trust of the public is something that we don’t take lightly at the Museum of Fire, and this is why we check and triple check our facts before committing them to print. Our team take the responsibility of being the primary organisation for understanding the history of firefighting within NSW very seriously and this is why we are very protective of ensuring all historical content produced is correct, verified and thus centralised within our heritage team.

To promote visiting Museum’s we are offering a special entry rate for International Museum Day on Saturday 18 May 2024 - $5 for children and concession and $10 for adults!

-Blog by CEO Belinda McMartin


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